What we choose to create often says as much about our values as the way in which we create it. For Mary Wise, designing and producing a collection of hand spun quilts is about reproducing a feeling of home, sending out into the world a soft yet durable symbol of warmth and provision. They are functional and geometrically inspired, echoing her sweetly shy personality and essentialist approach to materialism.
Mary and her husband, Steven, who designs the website and everything outside of quilts for Fieldwell speak about this journey they’ve begun and their values for their burgeoning business.
When did you become interested in quilting?
Mary: I got into quilting my sophomore year and ended college still doing it, so it was definitely something I was drawn to. Before that I had taken a ceramics class and I was terrible at it, but I loved the building it was in, the energy and creativity that surrounded the medium. The Fibers building was in a renovated schoolhouse; very simple, and mostly women. There was a kind of certain personality that people associated with textiles there, more quiet and all of that. But when I went to the ceramics building it was messy, almost wild. Painting was in the same building. I was really drawn to that but I was so terrible at ceramics. I had always been interested in painting, too, but quilting has become a way of painting for me. I draw a lot of inspiration for my quilts from minimalist painters. It’s a functional way of painting in my mind. That’s another reason I love natural dyes because there is so much variation in the color, and it has this painterly feel to it, so it’s something that I might do again. I teach some natural dye workshops in Portland and it’s a whole new learning process navigating the logistics of doing that because it takes so much space and extra equipment like a heat source and all of that.