Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Art of Mary Ray

Waechters had been a landmark in Asheville for as long as I can remember. Years ago our annual visits to Asheville would always include a stop at Waechters Fine Fabrics,  and fine fabrics they do have, lots of natural fiber, silks, linens, cottons, rayons and unique blends. They also have wonderful buttons, patterns, lace and the nicest people to help you put it all together. They've always been on Charlotte Street in downtown Asheville, but recently moved to Biltmore Village where they had their big re-opening celebration this past weekend. Mary Ray, a friend, very talented fiber artist and contributing editor to Threads magazine was the visiting guest artist for the day. She presented 2 trunk shows which were not only inspiring and "knock your socks off" beautiful but also very informative. Here are some of the wonderful clothes presented along with some interesting facts.
Mary buys fabric she loves, often with no purpose in mind. For this particular jacket, she didn't have enough of the wool crepe to complete the look. Because of her love of green, she often has lots of green fabric in her stash and found another fabric in the same green so she could mix the 2 for an even better effect. You can see the 2 fabrics on the sleeves. I thought this was a great idea. So often we think we have to use the same fabric throughout the one garment, but how clever to mix it up like this.
This next garment, Mary pieced fabrics together to make an interesting patchwork effect. She wasn't interested in doing any 1 particular quilt pattern, but just piecing fabrics for a more interesting look. She seldom uses blue but chose the bluish-grey fabric as a nice contrast to the earthtones in the patchwork. What a great way to use up scraps of silks and other dress goods.
Mary will use a batting on occasion if it helps the "drape" of a garment. She likes to use a lightweight wool batting. I've done lots of clothing also and love Thermore which is super thin. I sometimes use it in quilts when I want a very flat look, but for clothing, I agree with Mary - the thinner the better. This next jacket uses a batting and it really helped the jacket to hang better.

This piece was done for the Fairfield Fashion show sponsored by Fairfield Batting Company and headed up by Donna Wilder. Many garments in this show were wild in color.  Mary did her own thing and chose a more conservative path, that of gray AND it won Peoples Choice! It was a beautiful combination of tucks, pleats and lots of other fabric manipulation techniques.
Mary gets her inspiration from all places. I loved this little fabric bag and even more so when I saw the inspiration for it - a clipping from a magazine for a bread product. The kernals and salt reminded Mary of beads which she added to the surface.
Mary says she has this wonderful plant outside her door that blooms with red leaves and curly edges - what a great interpretation in this bag!

It was a lovely presentation and I learned so much - more tomorrow on the store itself, so stay tuned.

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