A Clarksburg fiber artist is capturing the beauty of Appalachia in an eight-inch hoop.
written by DAWN NOLAN
“EMBROIDERY INSPIRED BY APPALACHIA AND HAPPY THOUGHTS.” That’s how fiber artist Mary Roy describes her work on her Etsy page, MaryeStitches. Roy first tried hand embroidery in 2019 as a creative outlet to cope with the symptoms of her obsessive-compulsive disorder and the stress of her corporate job. She’s been learning and stitching ever since.
While she has always been creative, Roy says it took time to find the right medium to express herself. She thought she might be comfortable with textiles since she was used to watching her mother, a seamstress and costume designer, work her magic. “We always had needles and thread around the house, and she was always creating,” Roy says. “Sewing never felt right, though.”
But embroidery did. In 2020, she established her business, Appalachian Moon, which she rebranded earlier this year to Mary Stitches. Roy has been voted a 2021 “Best New Artist” runner-up by readers of WV Living magazine, an Emerging Artist Fellow by Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, and an Artist-in-Residence at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Most of Roy’s pieces are 8-inch hoops and take 25 to 30 hours to complete, depending on complexity. They are also thoroughly researched, which adds authenticity and helps Roy capture tiny details. Her three-layer New River Gorge hoop—one of her favorites—features the bridge, river, surrounding greenery, and female whitewater rafters. “It was fun to play with the different colors and textures, and the layering allowed me to create something with more movement and dimension,” Roy says. “It took 32 hours to complete and really changed the game for me.” The piece has been featured in exhibitions at The Cultural Center, Tamarack Marketplace, and Taylor Books.
Roy says she focuses on landscapes in her work because they serve as a reminder of the beauty in nature and memories that have been made in it. “It’s my goal to connect people and places despite distance,” she explains. “I want people to be able to keep those special places close to them.”
In addition to her Etsy shop, Roy’s work can be purchased at events and several storefronts across the state. Visit linktr.ee/marystitches for more information.