Mary Lou Alexander
Mary Lou Alexander



As a biologist, I am fascinated by natural phenomena.  For me, art, like science, brings order to these phenomena.  I want my quilts to reflect the wonder and awe that I feel for the natural world.  I am incredibly grateful that I have had the opportunity to work as both a scientist and as an artist.  Both art and science have added immeasurably to the richness of my life, and in turn I hope that I will have contributed in some small way to each.

To make my quilts I use variations on two very old techniques:  Japanese shibori dyeing and American patchwork.  Although I use traditional methods, my quilts are by no means traditional.  They borrow from the ancient to produce pieces that I hope are fresh, original and contemporary.


For 25 years Mary Lou Harrison Alexander was a Biological Anthropologist.  Some years ago, she resigned  her tenured professorship to become a full-time fiber artist. Since then she has exhibited her award-winning quilts in numerous national juried shows.  She has presented five  solo shows at the Oakland Center for the Arts, the Foster Gallery at Westminster College Art Gallery in New Wilmington, PA, the Humphrey Atrium Gallery at University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH, and at the McDonough Museum of Art on the campus of Youngstown (OH) State University.  In January thru April 2023, she mounted a solo Retrospective of 30 works at the Regina Quick Center for the Arts at St Bonaventure University in Olean, NY. Her work is represented in corporate and private collections, including Forum Health, in Youngstown, OH and in the Marbaum Collection at the San Jose Textile and Quilt Museum.  Her quilts were chosen by curator Nancy Crow to be part of Color Improvisations which opened in Stuttgart, Germany in July 2010, and traveled in Europe through 2013.

In 2016, Artist and curator Nancy Crow invited Mary Lou to produce 3 new quilts to be included in  Material Pulses: Eight Viewpoints at the Riffe Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, and this work is traveling throughout the US through 2023.  In 2018 her work was invited to the Inaugural Exhibition at the Edison Price Gallery in New York  City.  The Artist as Quiltmaker XVIII exhibition in Oberlin, OH included her work in 2018, as did the Peace and Justice exhibit at Delaware State University.  In 2019 her works were exhibited in Contemporary Fibers exhibit as part of the Deeper Than Indigo  Symposium in St Augustine, Florida, at the Ohio Craft Museum and the Springfield Art Museum in the Best of Ohio 2019 Exhibition, and at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles as part of the Marbaum Collection.  In 2021 her work was seen in the Best of Ohio 2021 at the Ohio Craft Museum and the Massilon Center for the Arts, and Form Not Function at the Carnegie Museum for Art and Science where she won an Honorable Mention Award.  In 2022, her work was included in the Artist as Quiltmaker XIX exhibit in Oberlin, OH, and in the SAQA Fur, Fangs, Feathers and Fins exhibit at the Tuscon, Arizona Botanical Garden.   Also in 2023, her work was exhibited in Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn NY, and she won an Honorable Mention at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, OH in New Masters 3: Women Artists of Northeastern Ohio.

In 2008, Mary Lou curated a show titled  Depth and Breadth: Six Quiltmakers in the 21st Century for the Butler Institute of American Art.  In October, 2009 she curated a show of quilts by Nancy Crow, also for the Butler Institute.  She was a juror for Art=Quilt=Art at the Schweinfurth Art Center in 2020.  Mary Lou’s work has been reviewed in the Surface Design Journal and she has contributed reviews on fiber to Fiberarts Magazine.  She was the subject of a feature article in the December 2021 issue of the German magazine Patchwork Professional, and her work was featured in a cover story and interview in Art Quilt Quarterly in the fall of 2022.  Upcoming, Mary Lou and her work will be featured in Quilting Arts Studio  Magazine in the Spring 2024 edition.

Things Fall Apart
Luminous #3