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Mary Sheppard Burton was an icon in the rug hooking world.  This informative website has been developed to help you get to know her a little better and understand her love of rug hooking.  Her book is especially intriguing and if you don't have it, you should consider purchasing it for your library collection.  As it will be a cherished memory of a wonderful woman!  



Mary Sheppard Burton
Textile Artist

Max Allen,  Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  Producer, News and Current Affairs, Founding Curator, Textile Museum of Canada

   "Mrs. Burton’s rugs are inventive and thoroughly original, astonishingly beautiful, fun, historically significant, and wonderfully crafted. Her rugs reflect the deep individuality that runs through all significant folk art: using the most ordinary materials and simple means, the folk artist produces unique and moving works. Mrs. Burton is a national treasure".

Nancy Gibson, Curator of Textiles, DAR Museum, Washington, DC

   "Mary Sheppard Burton is an authentic artist. True to her roots—yet she pushes the envelope with her command of color and design. Unparalleled among today’s rug-hooking artists, her work has a special excitement and vibrancy not often seen in the rug-hooking medium. She pays homage to the tradition while taking the art to another level. Mary Sheppard Burton is an authentic artist".

Abby Vakay, Instructor of Rug Hooking at the Smithsonian Associates Program, Washington, DC

   "My undeniable passion for this art form called ”rug hooking” came to me through my friendship with Mary Sheppard Burton. I was fortunate enough to begin taking classes with her in 1992, in her home, surrounded by all her beautiful hooked pieces. She inspired me, from the beginning, to create original work when I wasn’t sure I “could do it.”  From my exposure to Mary’s work and teachings, I am well aware of the importance of supporting and encouraging students so they gain confidence in their own creative process. She continues to discuss her teaching methods with me, and I am able, now, to implement them as I carry on her traditions with my own students, at the Smithsonian".

Peggy A. Bulger, Director,  American Folklife Center Library of Congress, Washington, DC

   "Mary Sheppard Burton is a storyteller, a treasured tradition-bearer who recounts the history and heritage of rural Maryland in the early years of the 20th century. Her stories are told in a tangible, vibrantly visual medium…exquisitely designed and crafted hooked rugs. Like many folk artists before her, Mary has taken a utilitarian craft and elaborated upon it to create works of art that are both personal and communal. Like all great folk artists, she creates for the pure joy of creativity, without regard to commerce or sales. Mary’s rugs are a part of her family and community history, and are precious beyond their monetary worth. It is a wonderful gift to be able to meet and talk with Mary about her rugs, and this book illustrates well the joy and expansive beauty of her artistry and her role as a community storyteller."

- All Site Contents Copyright 2003  --  Mary Sheppard Burton  --   All Rights Reserved --

We Are Born
Creative People...
Some of us unknowingly seem to strive to sabotage ourselves, to remain mundane.  Many are craftspeople who lack the inspiration, self-confidence, and the encouragement to develop self-assurance.  Because these vital ingredients are missing, these people make no effort to begin a creative piece of work.  Because they are often intimidated, these people struggle very hard to repeat and copy in total exactness both pattern and color. 

I challenge my students by telling them that if you fall into this category, leave it behind. Come alive! I'll show you how to develop your talents.  Don't continue to hide them under a basket, but let them grow and bask in the light of your inner fire.

You and I are born creative people.  This creative power with every chlid needs positive channeling.  It is often smothered for lack of a good beginning.  I challenge you to make a beginning right now.  You'll find your successes  driving you onward with fierce creative dreams and goals striving each time competitively only to surpass yourself.  Thus you cross the threshold, and find the inner joy that is your own unique, God-given talent.
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