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December 04, 2003

Artistry in quilts

Mary Simon designed some of the most sophisticated, beautiful and intricate quilts ever produced in this country. But apparently she made none for her own use.

That's just one of the mysteries waiting to be unraveled in Appliqued Artistry, a new exhibit of album quilts at the Baltimore Museum of Art through May 9. In album quilts, each square is the equivalent of a personalized page from an autograph album. Often, each square is "signed" by the needle worker.

According to exhibit curator Anita Jones, Simon, a German immigrant who moved to Baltimore in the 1840s, apparently designed, backed and sold individual squares that were completed and signed by another quilter.

"These are really exceptional blocks," Jones says. "She had a large family, and it's odd that she apparently never made one for their own use, or signed one herself."

Lectures, gallery talks and quilting workshops are scheduled to coincide with the exhibit. But the highlight will be a May 2 raffle of a reproduction quilt designed by Simon. The copy was crafted over four years by more than 100 volunteers in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Proceeds will benefit the BMA's textiles department.

The museum, at North Charles and 31st streets, is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the first Thursday of every month (except holidays) until 8 p.m. Admission is $7 for most adults; $5 for college students and seniors age 65 and older, and free for children age 18 and younger. For information or to buy a raffle ticket, call 410-396-7100 or visit www.art bma.org.

- Mary McCauley

At Unicorn Studio

Serene scenes abound in a new show at the Unicorn Studio Gallery and Frame Shop.

Recent works by local artists Lois David and Mary Bickford, including figurative oils and landscape paintings, will be on display through Dec. 23.

Unicorn Studio Gallery and Frame Shop is at 626 S. Broadway. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, call 410-675-5412.

Abstract collages

Colleen Corrigan's abstract collages are on display through Jan. 31 at Minas Gallery.

The mixed-media works are the result of a multistep process - the artist paints paper with gouache and then cuts the sheets into long strips to create the materials for the constructions.

Other compositional bits and pieces are created when she slices photographs into similar shapes.

The finished products are both beautiful and mysterious.

Minas Gallery is at 733 S. Ann St. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays-Mondays. For more information, call 410-732-4258. -Sarah Schaffer

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