Mary Edna Fraser in her home
Mary Edna Fraser in her home

Mary Edna Fraser: Artist, House & Studio, James Island, Charleston (read full article)
Photography: Olivia Rae James
Interview & Text: Kristen Gehrman
Freunde von Freunden

It seems like batik is the perfect medium for depicting air and water.
Oh it is! It has taken my eye to the deepest places in the ocean and then up into the heavens. Both sky and water are constantly changing landscapes and I think the movement of the dye really captures their transience.

What are you working on right now?
At the moment, I am working on a piece with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in collaboration with Mark Mercury, a planetarium composer. Our next show is mapping the planets in silk and sound. Smithsonian National Air and Space planetary geologist Ted Maxwell writes the scientific explanation of what I am depicting as an artist. Actually, in 1995 I was an artist for NASA — they pick one every year and that year they chose me.

You mentioned that your children are artists, what kind of advice do you give them?
In this day in age, it is important that they pursue their art and keep a job on the side. I also tell them that they have to practice. It’s like playing the piano; you can’t just expect to automatically be good. You have to train yourself everyday. I have completed over 500 batik on silk pieces and with every one of them, I try a new technique. Even if it is just a small thing, it has to be something I have never done before.