Last week, SDA member Maura Donegan visited the Eastside SDA chapter meeting to share her incredible fiber art embroideries. Born and raised in Ireland, Maura holds a diploma from the London Cities and Guilds Embroidery program which she started in the UK. However, after completing her first year, she moved to the Puget Sound region… Luckily, she was able to continue and complete her studies under the tutelage of Gail Harker here in La Conner, WA. In 2011, Maura was one of four graduates of the Gail Harker Center to be featured artists at the “Four Embroiderers” exhibition at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.
Much of Maura’s work features words embroidered with each letter within squares in a grid, like crosswords. Memory and a historical tradition of handwork in both Maura’s family and women in general are honored in her work. Some of her pieces are for the wall, while others are 3-D, such as her box of 108 cubes, each with a 6-letter word inscribed on it. 108 is considered a sacred number by several Eastern religions and is the “hyperfactorial of 3, as it is of the form:Maura invites people to choose a cube from the box and then replenishes with more cubes as needed to maintain the number within.
Maura’s Irish heritage also is seen in some exciting new pieces she is making with machine embroidery on a heavy Japanese paper. The designs are inspired by ancient art on the megalithic rock tombs that were near where she grew up. The dense, beautiful embroidery is made with metallic thread, making elegant patterns and webs in the areas she has cut away which replicate the stone-age art.
See more of Maura’s art on her website at http://www.mauradonegan.com