Date(s) - 01/12/2018 - 03/11/2018
All Day

The Valdez Museum on Egan


Regular Admission

Quilt and textile lovers in Valdez will take delight in the Valdez Museum’s new exhibit for 2018, titled Stitched, featuring the textile work of former resident Maria Shell. Shell’s artworks provide a contemporary twist on traditional quilting through her playful use of color, pattern and repetition. Visitors will be exposed to the breadth and depth of Shell’s works, most notably her contemporary take on a traditional art form. Shell is the recipient of a project award, two fellowships, and a residency from the Rasmuson Foundation.

Shell is an artist well-known to Valdez’s community of avid quilters, having lived in Valdez for seven years before relocating to Anchorage. Shell learned her art form from her peers at Valdez’s fabric shop, the Calico Whale, now known as the Smiling Seal. Local quilters may recognize Shell’s distinctive style from her past participation in the Valdez Museum’s quilting exhibitions, at one time an annual staple of the museum’s programmatic offerings. Many of the pieces in Stitched are new compositions that will debut in this exhibit.

Shell writes about her work, “My artwork is firmly grounded in the craft of quiltmaking. It has taken me many years to acquire the cutting, piecing, and quilting skills I now use daily. Vintage and contemporary commercial solid and print cotton fabrics, as well as hand dyed cotton fabrics I have created are the materials I use in my work. These textiles are cut primarily without rulers and stitched into a two dimensional surface. Once I create this pieced canvas, I spend hours on my long arm quilting machine stitching the top to cotton or wool batting and a fabric backing. The final step is to bind or face each individual piece.”

“I have always been interested in pattern and how complex pattern can also create complex figure ground composition. In 2011, I began to wonder what would happen if I selected a particular pattern–in this case the grid–and continued to play with it over the course of a series. What I discovered is that limiting the pattern but manipulating the line, color, and shape, can produce dynamic results that not only stand alone as compelling individual compositions, but also are intriguing to look at as a group.”

Central to Stitched is “Colors Unfurled–aka If Betsy Ross had My Stash”, one of Shell’s largest works, measuring 77” high by 126” wide. “Colors Unfurled…” won the Best of Show award at the All Alaska Art Exhibition at the Anchorage Museum. It is being purchased this spring, so this will be the last time it will be displayed for the public. When installed, the piece will be surrounded with smaller works by Ms. Shell, providing a bright and colorful atmosphere to the museum during the dark winter months.

Stitched runs January 12 – March 11, 2018, at the Valdez Museum. An opening reception free to museum members will be held at the museum on January 12, 5 to 7 PM.

For more information, call 835-2764 or email