Quilt exhibit features work of Jean Ray Laury

Jean Ray Laury quilt, "Memorial for the Child-Victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing," 1996.
Jean Ray Laury quilt, "Memorial for the Child-Victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing," 1996.

A new exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum celebrates the life of the late Jean Ray Laury, an artist who worked in quilts, wood, paper and other materials for more than 50 years.

The exhibit, "Jean Ray Laury: Getting it All Together," is open through Sept. 2 and features more than 40 quilts, along with numerous other artworks, sketchbooks, and personal archival material. The items on display were donated by Laury before her death in 2011.

Born in Iowa, Laury became an inspiration worldwide through her teaching, quilting and writing. Beginning in the 1960s, Laury created provocative images from a feminist viewpoint in her quilted, felted and screen-printed textiles, inspiring other artists to likewise adopt a political stance in their work. She participated in the revitalization of American craft and profoundly influenced contemporary quilt making, particularly the California studio art quilt movement.

Through her more than 30 books, years of monthly columns in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, and decades of teaching, Laury reached a vast audience. In her writings and teaching, she encouraged originality in design, rather than imitation of a particular idea or pattern. Laury believed it was important for women to carve out time in their lives for creativity, and the exhibition's title is based on her 1977 book, "The Creative Woman's Getting-It-All-Together (at Home) Handbook" (Van Nostrand Reinhold).

Guest curator Nancy Bavor, a recent graduate of the quilt studies program in Textiles, Clothing and Design, has organized the exhibition to show the breadth and depth of Laury's influence as an artist, teacher, writer, humorist, feminist, mother and wife.

— Maureen Ose, International Quilt Study Center and Museum