“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)
Beginning with the first quilt she completed in 1956 for her Master’s degree in design at Stanford University, Jean Ray Laury sought to blur the lines between fine art (painting and sculpture) and decorative art (fiber, wood, glass, ceramic), bringing an artist’s approach to all her work in many media. As she developed her own artistic vision, Laury not only participated in the late 1950s revitalization of American craft, but also became a role model for her own and future generations. Although she continued to work in other media, by the late 1970s she was focused primarily on quiltmaking.
Throughout her career, Laury advocated for original design. Between 1970 and 1980, she wrote or co-authored ten books showing how original design could be applied to any medium. She used unexpected materials: lace, pantyhose, wood and fabric to make wall hangings, dolls, tote bags, rugs, clothing and quilts.
Click images below to view larger and read more information about some of the quilts included in the exhibit.