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MAC Frehner Gallery to feature quilt art
The art quilt Wooded Walk is just one of many of the intricate creations that will be on display in the Frehner Gallery exhibit titled Flower Power: A Fiber Arts Journey by Mary Alice Hart. It will be on exhibit in the MAC Frehner Gallery from Friday through March 4. An opening reception is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday with a brief gallery talk by Hart beginning at 5:30 p.m. (Photo supplied)
MONROE - The new gallery exhibit titled "Flower Power: A Fiber Arts Journey" is a collection of hand-made quilt art by Monroe fiber artist Mary Alice Hart.

Her intricately designed and masterfully executed pieces will be on exhibit from Friday through March 4 at Monroe Art Center Frehner Gallery at 1315 11th St.

Hart was surrounded by quilts from an early age. Her maternal grandmother, most of her aunts and mother all quilted - mostly out of necessity. But it also provided a creative outlet and time to relax from the demands of household and farm chores, as all were farm wives in southern Illinois. Her initiation to the art form was threading needles during their quilting bees. Her mother, a long time 4-H leader, was her first sewing teacher, starting with a feed sack skirt at the age of 8. This connection to sewing and fiber arts throughout Hart's life influenced her decision to choose a home economics education in college.

Retired from teaching since 2000, Hart finally had time to focus on her love of quilting and gardening. Free time allowed her to study many facets of the quilting world. In 2008, three things converged that forever changed the focus of her quilting: a digital camera, an article in the Quilting Arts Magazine, and Solvron, a water-soluble material that gives fabric interesting textural effects.

In the quilt world, her work would be classified as machine applique. It is based on digital photos that she manipulates in the computer to create a master pattern and pattern templates. Most of the pieces are cut with seam allowances that are turned under ,and the pieces are assembled like a jigsaw puzzle. When the piece meets her approval, the sewing and quilting process begins.

"Mother Nature is the artist in my work. She created the form and chose the colors. I am the interpreter. I honor her by trying to be as true as possible to the original photo," Hart said.

The opening reception for Flower Power is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in Frehner Gallery. A brief gallery talk by Hart begins at 5:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Frehner Gallery exhibits are made possible by MAC corporate underwriters: Colony Brands Inc., and Season Media Underwriters Monroe Publishing LLC and Big Radio,

with additional support from Michael and Shelley Muranyi, Paul and Sue Barrett, Kevin and Chris Callahan, and Lee and Chris Knuteson.