Mending the Soul with Miniature Stitches: The Needlework of Ray Materson Opens at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures September 22nd

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Detail from Ogre All Stars- Sunday Afternoon, Ray Materson, photo courtesy of the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection

Tucson, Ariz—June 17, 2015– A new temporary exhibit, Mending the Soul with Miniature Stitches: The Needlework of Ray Materson, will open at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures on September 22, 2015. The exhibit will feature twenty-three narrative small-scale needleworks on loan from the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection in New York, which were created by artist Ray Materson from threads of socks on scraps of bed sheets while imprisoned. The exhibit will be open through January 10, 2016.

While serving a fifteen-year prison sentence for drug-related crimes, an angry and sorrowful Ray Materson sought redemption and found solace in stitching his life story using scraps of bed sheets as a canvas and threads from socks he unraveled. Materson’s small-scale needlework provided a vehicle for him to contemplate the experiences that shaped his life and led to his downfall, while simultaneously fueling his redemption. This selection of twenty-three miniatures, which Materson created while imprisoned, presents the story of an all-American boy who lost his way and literally mended his soul, sewing small narratives with 1,200 stitches per square-inch.

Artist Biography

Ray Materson is a nationally renowned, self-taught artist who found inspiration in a pair of socks while in prison. During the first year of his 15-year sentence for drug-related offenses, Ray traded some cigarettes for a pair of socks, secured a sewing needle from a prison guard and started stitching his way to redemption.

Most of his narrative miniature masterpieces measure less than 2.5″ x 3″ and include approximately 1,200 stitches per square inch. His unique works have been featured in numerous exhibitions including the American Museum of Folk Art in New York City, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, The Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle, WA and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Many of his pieces currently reside in private collections, including those of William Louis-Dreyfus & John Malkovich.

Since his release from prison in 1995, Ray has worked as a teacher, counselor, caseworker, program director, design consultant and speaker. With the help of his former wife Melanie, he published his autobiography, Sins and Needles: A Story of Spiritual Mending (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2002). In 2003, he became the first artist to ever receive the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Award.

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