Maria Shell has been making stitched textile art since 2001 when she took her first class at the Calico Whale quilt shop in Valdez, Alaska. Her work is firmly grounded in the tradition and craft of American quilt making. Vintage and contemporary commercial solid and print cotton fabrics, as well as hand dyed cotton fabrics are her primary materials These textiles are mostly cut without rulers and stitched into a two dimensional surface. Once she creates this pieced canvas, she spends hours on her 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.
Maria strives to take the classical components of a traditional bedquilt and manipulate them with the hope of creating surprising combinations of pattern, repetition, and color for the viewer. Her work has been shown in many national juried shows including, Fantastic Fibers, Art Quilt Elements, National Fiber Art Directions, Form, not Function, and the All Alaska Juried Art show. Maria is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation 2011 Winter Award, a Rasmuson Foundation Project Award in 2009, and a Rasmsuon Fellowship in 2013. In 2012, she was one of 44 artists from the northwest invited to participate in the Bellevue Arts Museums Biennial High Fiber Diet. Last summer, she was a featured artist for the Surface Design Association’s International Conference held in San Antonio, Texas. This fall, she will be traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina for a two month artist residency sponsored by the Rasmuson Foundation at the McColl Center for Visual Arts.