Fancy a new way to document your family history? Then take a leaf out of Mary Carson. She is a textile artist, specialising in simplistic portraits, often normal, family scenes. As she tells us, ‘I tell bite-sized stories with thread and fabric. Hand stitching and appliqué are complemented with watercolour and gouache.’ She is big on the story element, so you will find plenty on her website about her own upbringing and the area she was brought up in. She also looks at her mothers history too. No, her work is not ground-breaking, yet it has a homely feel which will appeal to many out there. It is comforting and allows us to think about our own family history and if the idea of stitched portraits is something we would like to look into. It also shows that portraits do not have to be exact representations, they can be a mood, a memory, a simplified version. This makes is seem more relatable and achievable. Of course we have plenty of portrait content on Mr X Stitch that you can indulge in, so why not let this column on Carson be a starting point for a good search through the website?
She tells us: ‘I’m self-taught with the aid of family wisdom, library books, YouTube, and my favourite textile artist Sue Stone. I took Sue’s online course the year after my family members passed, and it changed my life. She gave me the encouragement and techniques I was looking for, and I’ll forever be grateful.’ If you have a look at the artist Sue Stone you will soon notice the influence!
She has certain tried and tested techniques which she uses, such as hand stitch, coupled with odd use of paints to colour her fabric. The types of colouring move from pencil lines to watercolour and gouache. We see basic canvas and cotton materials being used.
Her collections – family and history locally
Family history and the history of her local area are key drivers behind her work. For a collection founded on her history, she states: ‘My mother’s family was largely from the Nebraska plains. She was born in 1931, and her parents were born in 1901. I’ll never forget her stories about the Dust Bowl and Depression Era days, which combined with my own research, gave new meaning to the words “grit” and “determination.” I only hope I can muster the same inner strength, hope and faith when facing my own life challenges. To all who just kept going, you have my utmost regard.’
Her collections – Figurative
This body of work seems to focus on a few emotional images – emotional for the artist that is….
In 2015 her brother and mother died – this seemed to fuel her practice:
So effectively she put the negative stuff into her art and made a visual positive.
We can ‘read’ a sorry visually through many of her pieces:
Her work galleries surround the black history too of the area….
Why not check out her Instagram Mary Carson (@bucketofstones) • Instagram photos and videos and her own personal website Mary Carson – Textile Artist (marycarsontextileart.com)