Mary Fons to Appear at Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore
April 11, 2018
Mary Fons, is a quilter, speaker, an actress, writer, award-winning slam poet, prolific blogger, TV star, amateur quilt historian, accomplished quilter textile designer and a leading voice in the quilting world and is currently pursuing a writing MFA at the School of the Art Institute. She also produces media and appears regularly on television. Bayside Quilters of The Eastern Shore, Inc. is so very pleased to host Mary on April 11, 2018. She will speak at the regular Bayside Quilters' meeting in morning and at an open to the public "meet and greet" evening, both at the Easton Fire Hall, located at 315 Aurora Park Drive, Easton, MD 21601 (On GPS) recently changed to Leonard Rieck Drive (on street sign). The evening event will be a "Meet & Greet" with Photo Ops, light refreshments, Mary's lecture and a Q&A session. Reservations are $8.00 (strongly recommended) and $10.00 at the door (space available). If you would like to attend please send reservation checks to Bayside Quilters, PO Box 2672, Easton, MD 21601. Please include your email address for an email receipt which will be your ticket.
About Mary Fons, (info from an article by firstname.lastname@example.org) Mary Fons knew she wanted to be a writer from a young age, and was pursuing that path when a catastrophic illness nearly took her life, leading to surgery and changing her future forever. As she recovered and started to stitch her life back together, she began working with her mom, Maryann Fons, a legend in the world of quilting and author of many quilting books. “Writing is how I order reality. Quilting is how I fade from it,” she says, flashing a radiant smile. “There is a sense that quilting is something grandmothers do on the farm. And while it’s true that most quilters are in their early 60s, people have always been making quilts. It’s our most democratic art and people have and always will be drawn to it. More and more young people are coming to it. We are in a new quilting era. Look, you can’t wrap a baby in an iPad.”
There are 20 million serious quilt makers in this country, give or take, and like the majority of them, Mary Fons has never sold any of the quilts that she has made.
“I love to give them away to people I love,” she says, sitting in her spacious apartment in the South Loop that also functions as her workspace/studio/sanctuary. She has many times, and presumably will again, given a quilt as a gift. Those she has kept, about 20 or so, sit in a neat pile on the bed in her second bedroom. She might show them to visitors and frequently brings them to the lectures and workshops in which she participates across the country. (Mary will bring some of her quilts to Bayside for her lectures.) Fons went to Chicago some 15 years ago, after growing up in the small (6,000 give or take) town of Winterset, Iowa, best known as the birthplace of John Wayne. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in theater arts and was drawn to Chicago. She did well there. She helped found The Gift Theater (thegifttheatre.org), worked with the o-Futurist ensemble (neofuturists.org), and wrote for a variety of publications. She was a regular participant, and frequent winner, of the Sunday night poetry slams at the Green Mill. What she did not do was sew, something at which her mother was particularly accomplished and famous. “My mom is a certifiable … what we call ‘sewlebrity’,” says Mary, the middle of the three girls raised by their single mom. That mom, Marianne Fons, began quilting in the mid-1970s and, teaming up with fellow quilter Liz Porter, created not only a brand but something of an empire. Their books were bestsellers and they began co-hosting a PBS show called “Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting” in 2003. “I really love my mom,” Mary says. “And I respect the hell out of her.” About a decade ago, while her short marriage was falling apart, Mary got very sick with ulcerative colitis. As she told my colleague, Cindy Dampier, in a terrific story about quilting, "When life as you know it is torn into a million pieces, it makes perfect sense to tear up perfectly good fabric into a million pieces and sew it back together again." So, she sewed and after her recovery and divorce, the producers of her mother’s show asked her to be the co-host the program in the wake of Porter’s departure. “I barely knew how to sew,” Mary says. “I was such a novice, a rookie asking all the dumb questions. The show got a lot of nasty letters at first but those questions I was asking started to find an audience.” Mary knows how to sew now, though she will admit that she is a “better designer than technician.” She also admits to having become a “sewlebrity” herself and has become what she calls “an ardent amateur quilt historian.” She will talk of the early days, “when quilts were made for shelter and warmth.” She will cite the 19th century as "the Golden Age,” explain how quilting took a dive in popularity after World War II and about how a famous exhibition in 1971 at the Whitney Museum Museum of American Art in New York and the country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976 fueled renewed interest in quilting. She will talk passionately of the famous AIDS Memorial quilt (www.aidsquilt.org) and of the “astonishing African-American contribution to the art.” She returns to the television show in the fall after taking a short hiatus. She will get her MFA in May. It is, of course, impossible to know if attaining such a degree will lead to great books. But she already has one: “Make + Love Quilts: Scrap Quilts for the 21st Century” (Stash Books, 2014). The book features 12 of Mary’s quilts and some fine writing: “Human beings love quilts because quilts are objects of love; indeed, most quilts are made and given to someone as a gift. Just as love is not selfish, neither are quilters.” “A great painting is made on purpose and may make you feel awestruck or inspired. … But what work of art can you literally wrap around your shoulders when you’re sad?” Her blog, part of her wildly entertaining, very personal and informative website (maryfons.com) is titled PaperGirl and it too is peppered with such first-rate writing as this: “On the way to the airport at 5 a.m. last weekend, riding the El, you cannot believe the sky I saw. A storm was coming in from the west making the sky a deep sapphire blue, almost purple around the edges. But the sun was coming up over the lake behind us and suddenly, all the metal storage warehouse buildings along the Orange line route were bathed in gold, dripping with the gold light of that early spring sun. The dark heaven behind them threw each bright square into even sharper relief. It took my breath away. Not even Monet could’ve captured what I saw through my train window. Only spring can deliver that kind of beauty in the first place. “ In 2015 Mary began Small Wonders, a line of quilting fabrics for the firm of Springs Creative, becoming a tiny part of the estimated $4 billion quilting industry. She is a bundle of energy and advocacy is a spokeswoman for the Baby Lock brand of sewing machine that she uses, goes to school and every day takes pieces of fabric and sews them together and in so doing makes herself happy and fulfilled and also creates magical art of a wonderful (and warm) kind.
Venue information from past shows shown below
Our Quilt Show will span across four locations:
Oxford Community Center
This will be the location of our main event:
St. Paul's Church John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church
The Oxford Fire department (located next door to Oxford Community Center) has generously donated their engine bay for our vendor mall.
If you're interested in selling your products in our show, please download our entry form here. If you would like more information, please email Tyra Wingard at email@example.com.