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Lori Mason: A Life in Pattern
Lori Mason: A Life in Pattern

Thu, Sep 07


The Dalles

Lori Mason: A Life in Pattern

Showcasing the work an Oregon textile artist from her early years and the influence of her family to her work creating print designs for national fabric companies to her full-circle journey into personal storytelling through memorial quilts.

Time & Location

Sep 07, 2023, 11:00 AM – Sep 30, 2023, 5:00 PM

The Dalles, 220 E 4th St #2206, The Dalles, OR 97058, USA

About The Event

Lori Mason is a maker and a storyteller. The artist has worked steadfast and quietly for decades, exploring her craft and various mediums of textile art. Eventually, Mason found the deepest meaning and satisfaction in her work through creating memorial quilts for families to honor the passing of a loved one. The September exhibit, Lori Mason: A Life in Pattern is an invitation to see the breadth of this singular artist’s work.

Memorial quilts have a long history in America, going back to the 19thCentury with examples such as Elizabeth Rosemary Mitchell’s, “The Graveyard Quilt” to 20th Century quilts honoring the grief of a nation, such as the Challenger Quilt. Mason builds on this tradition using clothing from the deceased as the material for the quilt while engaging modern symbols that bring the personality of the deceased to life, e.g., a lawyer with a lifelong love of reading is honored with a quilt made to look like a bookshelf filled with favorite stories; a civic leader and father’s story is told through the repeating patterns and the colors of his favorite ties.

“I made one of my earliest quilts was from silk scarves that had belonged to my wonderful Grandmother. I made it to honor her passing but more than that, to honor her remarkable life. I was struck by the powerful intersection of grief, clothing, and memory and felt compelled to develop my ability in the medium. I wanted to help others honor someone they loved.” noted Mason. Her Grandmother’s quilt and others will be on public display for the first time at The Dalles Art Center in September.

Lori Mason, a textile artist living in Portland, Oregon, with family roots in Underwood, WA, is best known for creating beautiful memorial quilts from the clothing of people’s deceased loved ones. In between commissions, she concentrates on her studio quilts whose patterning is informed by her experience as a textile designer. Due to the personal nature of her memorial quilts, and because they go directly to people’s homes throughout the country and beyond, it is usually Lori’s studio work that makes it to the gallery wall.

“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for people to see an evolution of an artist’s work. Lori is including memorial quilts in this show that have previously only been seen by the families. I’m also looking forward to people seeing her fabrics and a selection of new studio quilts. My hope is that our rich community of textile artists in the Gorge will appreciate Lori’s commitment to her craft and to her lifelong creative exploration of fabric.” Said Sally Johnson, Executive Director of The Dalles Art Center.

Mason comes from a multi-generational family of artists and architects. She began making quilts as part of her BFA degree from The Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) where she received her fiber arts training. She went on to study fabric design for industry at The Fashion Institute of Technology where she was awarded an Associate Degree in Applied Science, summa cum laude. In the mid-90s, she designed printed and woven fabrics for Nike Apparel in a variety of sport categories. Missing the feel of working hands-on with fabric, she subsequently launched Lori Mason Design in 1999, creating one-of-a-kind, contemporary quilts and pillows and appearing in many prestigious venues nationally, including the Smithsonian and Philadelphia Museum Craft shows. In the early 2000s she licensed her own print design collections to RJR Fabrics and Andover Fabrics, eventually turning her attention back to a quickly growing interest in her memorial quilts and quilts that honor special life events.

Regardless of whether she is creating a quilt out of a deceased judge’s black robe, or a studio quilt out of linen or wool, Lori maintains her focus on the innate beauty of pattern and the opportunity to solve a design challenge. In 2015 she began an on-going series of quilts inspired by deciphering and reinterpreting Scottish tartan patterns that she then makes out of upcycled plaid shirts. As ever, her commitment to exquisite craftsmanship which began during her years at OCAC, remains a hallmark of her thoughtful work.

The exhibit at The Dalles Art Center will display a selection of her work from her career, including images and text that illuminate her process. Another unique factor of the exhibit is the limited-edition charm packs of Mason’s fabrics that will be for sale. Since Mason’s fabrics are no longer for sale online nor through any retail channels this is a special offering for visitors of Lori Mason: A Life in Pattern at The Dalles Art Center.


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