Mary McFerran

Girl With Flower
linen, embroidery, paint, assorted textiles, screening
24 x 24 in.

I began my artistic career at a time when there was a strict division between craft and Fine Art. Today, my creative journey explores the area in between these traditional definitions, blending what was once considered distinct. I think of my fabric and stitching compositions as drawings. The lines and shapes created with thread define space in much the same way as drawings made with pencil. Similarly, I approach color in the way I did as a painter, responding to the need for contrast or repetition of a specific hue. My experience with more traditional materials including paint and canvas deepens my understanding and appreciation of textile materials.

Constructing textile works is sheer pleasure for me. The scissor cut is a thrill. I assemble assorted sample pieces into a preliminary composition, stitch everything together and cut it into large swaths. This process is repeated until I arrive at a final composition, ready for finishing. While mine are large, non-functional fabric constructions that could never be worn, I channel a mad dress designer during their creation. I am lost in a creative chaos that evokes the historic relationship between femininity and fabric.

Working with fabric presents its own set of unique engineering problems and solving these challenges is the textile artist’s work. Fabric offers a diversity of strength, chemical composition, and texture. Combining segments to materialize an artistic vision can present practical dilemmas. There are issues of how best to fasten pieces together, whether to use machine, hand stitching or even glue. Aesthetic concerns include hanging quality, folds, creases and transparencies. Finally, there is always the question of how to provide appropriate physical support for the work. These questions stimulate my artist mind and therefore I am open to the new questions that arise with every new piece I create.

© Mary McFerran