Seven Camels Heading West
Jean Ray Laury
“Art has less to do with the material used than with the perceptive and expressive abilities of the individual. Any difference between the ‘fine’ and the ‘decorative’ arts is not a matter of material, but rather what the artist brings to the material.”
Jean Ray Laury, Appliqué Stitchery (1966)
Jean Ray Laury completed her first quilt in 1956 for her Master’s degree in design from Stanford University. She is considered a pioneering leader in the quilt revival, which expanded in the 1960s.
Made in 1984, Seven Camels Heading West features Laury’s take on a one patch quilt. She often combined various techniques like screenprinting, applique, piecing and quilting to create her works.
Throughout her career, Laury sought to blur the lines between fine art and decorative art, also bringing her unique viewpoint to the approach. An advocate for original designs, she wrote and co-authored 22 published books. She was also a regular contributor to national women’s magazines, with columns in Women’s Day, Family Circle and Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.
In 2010, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum received the Jean Ray Laury Collection of Quilts and Archival Materials. This includes more than 40 of her quilts plus teaching materials, correspondence and other ephemera. Laury’s great impact as a feminist, instructor and leader in quilt and art communities make this one of the most significant collections given to the IQSCM.
To learn more about Laury and see more of her works, view the online exhibition for Jean Ray Laury: Getting It All Together, which appeared on display at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in 2012.