Mary Anne Jordan

Brief Bio:


Mary Anne Jordan is a Professor in the Textiles/Fibers Program in the School of the Arts at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.  She received her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and BFA at the University of Michigan.  Her work has been shown nationally across the US and internationally in Japan, Poland, South America, France, Canada.  In 2005-2006 Jordan was a Research Fellow at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska. She has taught workshops at Arrowmont, Haystack, Penland, Splitrock, and the Quilt and Surface Design Symposium.  Jordan’s work has been published in various exhibition catalogs, magazines and journals such as Fiberarts, Surface Design Journal, American Craft. Jordan is currently serving as Chair for the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas.

Artist statement - 2017


I am a quiltmaker.  In my current work I try to challenge and embrace the strong traditions of quiltmaking, of sewing, and contemporary art. My work is inspired by the processes and resources involved in the development of my work and ideas.  My interest and research in textiles has taken me many places conceptually in my work, and physically in the US and the world and it will continue to lead me to places yet to be explored.


The large universe of possibilities has always informed my work as an artist: current events, popular culture, life at home, observations from nature, and close encounters with art (of both the great, and not-so great kinds).


I have always had an affinity for textiles, and my research on a wide range of textile traditions has been a great source of inspiration. A short list of influences includes the appliquéd and embroidered Kuba cloth skirts from Central Africa; the complex weave structures of Ancient Peru; the extensive traditions and histories of textiles in Asia (in particular the sublime color and pattern combination of textiles from Japan, Korea, and Central Asia).


Evidence of the personal mark and human body is of utmost importance in my work. This evidence is often portrayed through a “careless” mark (a crooked seam, a frayed edge,) or evidence of use and history such as the marks left by a wet glass, stained fabrics, holes, drips, splatters and smears.


My work (including the processes and techniques employed to create the work) recurrently alludes to issues of domesticity and domestic life. At the same time, I hope the work expresses a sense of “defiance.”  I make marks carefully, then deliberately allow and preserve the marks that “happen” in the process of making things by hand: drips, stains, blemishes, bleeding dye. The planned and happenstance… each day we make decisions, large and small; and likewise, each quilt results from the questions I pose, the decisions I make, and the process of the making.


I compose shapes and organized patterns… cutting, piecing, and composing by eye. Through visual references to familiar fabrics (quilts, clothing, rugs, flags, rags, etc.) I use traditional methods of production (hand-dyeing, piecing, quilting, etc.) by layering pattern and piecing to allow personal narratives to emerge. I use fabric, color, and pattern as a means to make visual statements that magnify the perfection and flaws of everyday life; I use fabric, color, and pattern as a method to construct metaphors for our culture, (our) lives, and (our) bodies; I use fabric, color, and pattern as a medium to express my ideas, striving to create work that is straight forward and honest.


james may gallery© 2017