JEAN RAY LAURY
Jean's first quilt was made for a graduate school class project at Stanford University in 1956. The quilt featured bold colors and graphic images that were an effort to express part of her own life and it set a precedent for much of her future work. She entered the quilt in shows and captured the attention of many. Throughout her career, Jean's quilts were known for their coloration and geometry and for the use of printing and cartooning- using text and storytelling blocks in surface design. The subject matter is unconventional, often humorous or political and very personal.
A successful writing career developed in tandem with Jean's quiltmaking career. Her first article was published in the January 1960 issue of House Beautiful. Jean's work also appeared in Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, Needle and Craft and many other publications. In 1982 Jean began writing her column, "Keeping it All Together" for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, followed by her "Talking it Over" series in 1984 which delivered her supportive advice with a sense of humor.
She wrote the first contemporary quilting books, Applique Stitchery (1966) and Quilts and Coverlets: A Contemporary Approach (1970). She wrote books directed at young mothers and creativity, The Creative Woman's Getting-It-All-Together at Home Handbook and Keeping It All Together: The Not-Just-For-Quiltmakers Coping Book. Later in her career she focused on surface design in Imagery on Fabric, The Photo Transfer Handbook, and The Fabric Stamping Handbook.
Jean died of respiratory complications on March 2, 2011.
Photo courtesy Lizabeth Laury
"If you are asking me to offer any advice, it would be to risk everything all the time and to quit trying to be safe. Once you're willing to risk your whole reputation on something, then you can leap forward."
Jean Ray Laury
Keeping It All Together (1983), p. 15