[Slideshow] Darien quilt artist earns invitation to international festival
Local artist Lisa Mason has been invited to submit her work to the International Quilt Festival in Houston after earning multiple ribbons at a New York City show in April. A dozen quilts designed and crafted by Mason are currently on display at Darien Library until Sept. 4. A reception was held on July 21 and so far the show has seen a warm response.
“It was a really nice turnout and I’ve had a lot of great feedback from people who have gone to the show and contacted me,” Mason told the Times.
She approached library director Alan Gray about displaying her work at the recommendation of State Rep. Terrie Wood. Mason said the quilt show is a first for the library, which usually hosts more traditional art shows. However unlike painting or sculpture displays, visitors are welcome to reach out and feel the work first hand.
“I don’t have a problem with anyone touching or feeling them,” Mason said. “Some people are like ‘oh, you can’t touch them,” but that’s the whole point! It’s fabric, you want to feel it right?”
Mason was introduced to quilting at the age of 14 at Darien’s Rag Doll Shop where she took classes with Billie Kratky, another longtime resident. Though the more active years of her youth led her away from the hobby Mason said she returned to quilting after becoming a mother. She has since passed the craft onto her daughter Caroline, and the two have been quilting together for more than two decades.
Mason describes her work as modern quilting, incorporating new patterns and designs to innovate on more traditional styles. She said that she rarely begins with a full design in mind and will often craft new patterns as she works. When she has a specific pattern in mind a full quilt can take between 10 to 12 hours, but if Mason is working through a more difficult design the process can take as long as 40 hours. Mason shares her work and techniques as a member of the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild, having served as the organization’s president from 2013 to 2015.
“Our group is very diverse, all different ages and skills, but we embrace and support each other and our efforts,” Mason said in her artist’s statement. “We meet eight times a year in NYC and show each other what we are working on, and exchange ideas and new techniques.”
Her quilt “My First Double Wedding Ring” earned multiple ribbons at the 2017 Empire Quilt Show including best in show, first place for large pieced quilts and the viewer’s choice award. She will be sending that quilt along with another to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. The winners of that festival will be announced on October 31 and Mason plans to visit the city for a weekend to see the show.
While Darien Rag Doll is no longer in service, Mason suggested that those interested in learning to quilt visit shops in Norwalk and Monroe for lessons. Speaking to the Times on Tuesday she reminisced about teaching local 13-year-old to quilt and building a quilt together over the course of three months.
“I love when younger people are interested in it and want to learn more,” Mason said. “I’m always willing to help because we need to pass down these kinds of arts.”
Lisa Mason’s quilts will be on display at Darien Library until September 4th, six of the quilts are available for purchase as well.
Samples of Lisa Mason’s quilts at the Darien Library.