Straight from our guild newsletter! Written by Mrs. Helen Mire (Thanks Mrs. Helen)
Mary has been quilting since her first child, William, was born 35 years ago. Her other two sons, Adam, 32, and Rory, 30, also enjoy her craft because she has quilted for each of them and also for their wives, Stacy, Jenny, and Meggan. Quilts also adorn the beds of each of her seven grandchildren, Dusty, Alayna, Lane, Jolie, Marley, Catherine, and Sophie and sometimes they even drag those quilts around with them.
Mary was born in Cottonport and raised in Plaucheville. She graduated from Plaucheville High, and now she lives in Evergreen with her husband, Richard, of 36 years. Richard grows vegetables on about 4 acres and sells these fresh vegetables to the public. Her parents, Riley Bourque from Maurice, LA, and Ellen Lacombe from Moreauville, finally settled in Avoyelles with Mary and her seven sisters after moving several times during Mary’s young life! Mary’s mom always quilted, especially after she retired. Mary’s grandmother also quilted and she learned many quilting techniques from both of them.
A teacher here in Avoyelles Parish for the last 25 years, Mary was a school librarian at Marksville High for ten years, but is now back in the classroom at Bunkie High. She teaches English to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. When she retires, she wants to quilt and travel. Mary loves to design, because she started out that way. “I didn’t start out with patterns, but just created blocks,” she says. “As I started becoming more and more interested in quilting by reading, seeing other quilters designs, and visiting quilt shows, I realized I could do that and I would come home and make my own designs.”
“I found a quilt top my grandmother made in my mom’s house after mom passed away. I copied her pattern and made a few quilts using that pattern. My niece had a photo of my Dad’s barn and I wanted to create a quilt of the barn to honor him, so I enlarged the photo, made a pattern, and used fabric and thread to add details to create this quilt. I presented it at one of our meetings, and it won a Blue Ribbon in Wall Hangings at our last Quilt Show. I also created a quilt of the Cotton Gin in Cottonport. I use muslin to separate the strips for an interesting pattern in the scrap quilts I demonstrated at our Guild meeting. Use just scraps to create the strips.”
“I have attended the Houston Quilt Show for the last seven or eight years. I have also been to the Gulf South Show several times and a couple of times to the show in Beaumont, Texas, and of course to Krotz Springs and also once to Shreveport. If I hear about a quilt show, I will certainly try to get there,” she says. “Donna Mayeux and I went to classes given by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims,” she says proudly. “Sure learned a lot that weekend!”
“I will miss going to our Quilt Show this year. I had already decided which quilts to put in the show and certainly hope we continue it next year. Many people visit our show and this is a great opportunity to encourage tourism in Avoyelles Parish, so I know there will be many disappointed people this year.
“There are many opportunities to build your stash and also learn about quilting right here in Avoyelles Parish by attending our Guild meetings. We have many talented quilters who are willing to share their passion for quilting with us, so I feel we are blessed to have this Guild in my community.
“I have written on quilting in an online magazine, The Quilt Pattern Magazine. I have a blog named Fleur De Lis Quilts at fleurdelisquilts.blogspot.com. Check out the tutorials on my blog on many different subjects. Over the summer, I created the Louisiana Block for American Made Brand, which is a fabric line by Cloth Works. I will always continue quilting and enjoying the good life here in Avoyelles,” she says as she smiles broadly!
From Mary’s Blog Spot: AMB Louisiana License Plate