I’d like to introduce you a delightful woman I met recently on a teaching trip to the Seattle area. One of the great pleasures of my profession is meeting quilters from all over the world. Maurine Roy is more than a talented quilter – she is a true Renaissance Woman. Some people just have a very special spirit about them. I think there is something we all can learn from her.
I looked through a very small portion of the quilts Maurine had stacked up on two beds in a spare bedroom. I can’t even estimate how many there where! Here she is – with her most recent “Quilt of Valor“- ready to be sent some lucky soldier overseas. She read us a thank you note from a soldier in Afghanistan that brought us all to tears. (I encourage you all to check out this program if you haven’t heard of it. If you make tops you can be matched with a long-arm quilter – you don’t even have to do the whole thing yourself. )
Lyric: How long have you been creating art and how did you begin?
Maurine: I know exactly when I started. It was in September of 1957. My husband was killed in an automobile accident and I was left with 4 young kids, ages 4 weeks to 7. It was a bad time and I couldn’t sleep at night, so I went out and bought paints and an easel. After the kids were in bed I began painting. I found that after painting for hours I could go to bed and sleep like a log. It became my therapy. My first painting is still hung in my living room. I did some really weird stuff.
Lyric: What is your goal in creating your work?
Maurine: I don’t know if I have a goal. I think creating is my goal. When I start a new medium I become obsessed with it and spend all of my spare time working with it.
Lyric: Do you ever create art with the intent to earn income?
Maurine: No. I create art for myself and for my own satisfaction. It is totally rewarding to finish an object, knowing it is good, and then say “YES, I did it!
Lyric: So many artists are told that to concentrate on one medium or even one style. You seem to do the opposite. Do you have a favorite medium?
Maurine: I concentrate on one medium until I burn myself out, then something else always pops up to get my attention. There is always the excitement and challenge of starting a new project. I have done painting, stained glass, lost wax casting, welding, notebooks, leather tooling (the valances in my rec room are hand tooled), quilting and whatever. Lost wax casting was my favorite. I worked with an artist who had his own equipment for casting. It was like a foundry. I have poured as much as 35 pounds of bronze at one time.
A lot of my art reflects my life experiences. Creating has always been my therapy. It has helped me through many tough times. Quilting is the medium that has lasted the longest. I have been quilting since 1990 and have finished over 370 quilts. Art quilts are my specialty though, that is where the creative juices flow. Quilting is an amazing art form. Once you have stepped into that world, you find there are no limitation placed on your creativity or your depth of feelings.
Lyric: Does one medium spark ideas for work in a different medium or do you think in a different design style for each medium?
Maurine: It is definitely a different design style for each medium. The only commonality is that it comes from the same heart and mind. All of it in some ways represents my thoughts and feelings and experiences. It is such a great outlet for emotions and I have been blessed with this ability to creatively express myself.
Lyric: What does it mean to you to be able create beautiful things?
Maurine: I am 85 years old and I hope whatever creative talents I have will live on through my art for many years. This is a part of myself that I can leave to future generations.
Well, there you have it. Maurine is as gracious and witty and kind in person as she is in this interview. I am inspired. What are my take-away lessons learned from Maurine?
Do the art because you must.
Explore without fear.
Find health and sanity through your art.
Think of future generations.
This is Maurine’s first time on a blog. I would be thrilled if you left a comment for her to read. Hey – get your friends to come read and leave a comment too. Let her know how much it means to have someone like her out there making the world a better and more beautiful place!