“I see my role as a teacher as one of giving people confidence, of assuring them, of helping them to see that one’s work must be personally important first—then it can take on importance to other people. … A teacher must encourage or cultivate the uniqueness, not develop conformity.”
— Jean Ray Laury, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine (May 1982)
Jean Ray Laury provided a comfortable and supportive environment for her students and encouraged them to develop their own styles. While teaching students a technique, she also reminded them, “At its best, a quilt is a personal expression—not a mimic of the ideas or designs or color preferences set down by someone else.”
Over more than thirty years, Laury taught various workshops that reached thousands of students, nationally and internationally. She based her teaching upon her explorations in fabric surface design with screen-printing, dye sticks, crayons, cyanotype and dye transfer.
From 1976 until 1998, Laury conducted “Quilt Camp,” an annual Surface Design Seminar at Shaver Lake, California, with friend and co-author Joyce Aiken. She continued the retreat with her daughter Lizabeth and friend Susan Macy. Laury’s students formed a devoted and grateful following. In appreciation and to celebrate the artist’s 60th birthday, several friends created a red wooden wagon, imitating Laury’s own wood appliqué technique, and filled it with thank you notes and quilt blocks. She preserved many of the letters from students, poignant testimonials to the artist’s personal and creative influence on their lives.
Click images below to view larger and read more information about some of the quilts included in the exhibit.