In 1994, Mary Edna installed the first one-woman and textile exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, featuring 70 batiks and monotypes. Fraser was named NASA Artist of the Year in 1995.
Batik is a “dye-resist” process in which removable wax is applied to fabric, creating areas that will repel dye, while any unwaxed areas will absorb dye. This technique of dyeing textiles is a traditional craft in Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, Azerbaijan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and Singapore. The word ‘batik’ originated in Java, Indonesia where the process predates written records.
Mary Edna Fraser combines modern chemical Procion dyes, beeswax, and parafin on silk to express a sense of place inherent in each scene. Her fascination with the distinctive features of various regions has led her to examine barrier islands, river deltas, mountains, glaciers, and threatened landscapes around the world.
She works from her own aerial photographs and memories of flight, gains technical precision as she examines maps and charts, and paints studies on location to develop potential color palettes for her batiks. Satellite and space imagery have further expanded her range of content.
Fraser brings a dramatic scale and complexity to batik; her art is unique to the ancient medium.