Mary Pal 2015.jpg

Mary Pal is a Canadian fibre artist best known for her cheesecloth portraits. Her work has been exhibited internationally, purchased for private and museum collections throughout North America as well as published in several books and magazines and featured on television.  A teacher for over 40 years, she enjoys sharing her passion for textile art with students all over the world. She is an enthusiastic promoter of the fibre art movement.


Preferring to portray people who are often overlooked and ignored - the elderly and the homeless - Pal has created a portrait gallery of faces that exude personality and wisdom.
— Sielman, Martha, Art Quilt Portfolio: People & Portraits. Asheville: Lark Books, 2013.


In my work I use cheesecloth saturated with adhesive, sculpted into shapes that are then stitched to a background. This makes it possible for me to control both opacity - to translate the effect of light - and transparency, for shadows.

I am interested in the vulnerability of these delicate fibers and the effect of their placement on a contrasting ground. Their fluidity allows me to sculpt a two-dimensional representation of a subject that reflects a depth and texture not achievable with other media. I am free to explore the connections between process and materials and the way that they relate to my subject matter. Cheesecloth for me represents the very essence of textiles – the most minimal configuration of warp and weft – and through this medium I trace fleeting fragments of life.



Selected Exhibitions & Shows


Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum,  4 selected works in Photographs & Memories: Invitational Group Exhibit, La Conner, WA - January 10-March 25

Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum,  "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" in Birds of a Fiber Group Exhibit, La Conner, WA -
January 24 - February 25


Shenzhen International Patchwork and Handmade Art Exhibition, 10 selected works, Shenzhen, China - May 12-14 

EDGE 2017, Contemporary Fiber Artists –  “The Drifter” on exhibit at the Sabatini Gallery, Topeka, KS - Aug. 11 - October 22

FIBER ART VIII International Biennial Fiber Arts Exhibition, "Corrosion" at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, CA - July 28 - Sept. 3


Visions ‘Breakout’ – “Morning Conversations” on exhibit in the biennial exhibition of Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA, Oct. 15 – January 8, 2017

Art Quilt Elements – “The Drifter” on exhibit March 18 – April 30 at Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

Fiberart International – “The Drifter” on exhibit May 5 – August 21 at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA and then to travel

Radical Elements Exhibition – “Element of Surprise” at Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne, Florida: May 28 - August 27, 2016; International Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, TX: September 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017

People & Portraits Exhibition – “Homeless Love” and “Stogie” at various AQS Quilt Week venues across the USA until August 2016

Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition – “Keeping Jumbo Wild” in Tainan City, Taiwan, February 8 – June 30

My Corner of the World – “Courage” premieres at the Stratford Perth Museum, Stratford ON, May 21-August 14

EDGE 6.0, “Unspoken” on exhibit at the Sunderland Gallery in Omaha, April 24 – June 5


Beijing Exhibition hosted by China Fashion & Colour Association – ten works to be exhibited Oct. 12 - 18

Contemporary Fiber: Breaking Tradition – "The Other 1%" at Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna University, PA - April 11 - May 18

Expressions in Equality – "The Other 1%" premiered at Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA - January 17 - April 4

Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Lakeland, FL – March 5, 6, 7 

Celebrating Silver – "Precious Time" at International Quilt Festival, Chicago, Illinois, March
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Atlanta, GA – March 12, 13, 14
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Cleveland, OH – March 26, 27, 28
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Schaumburg, IL – April 9, 10, 11
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Worcester, MA – April 16, 17, 18

Viewpoints 9 – "Equus," "A Rose for Sarajevo," "Madeleine," "Gaia in Repose," "Thermal Mask," "Clarke Quay Tiles: In Homage," International House - Davis, Davis, CA April 10 - May 8

Celebrating Silver – "Precious Time" at Quilt! Knit! Stitch!, Portland, Oregon, August 


Earth Stories – "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" premiered at Michigan State University Museum, May - November

Radical Elements – Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, Montgomery College - Takoma Park, Silver Springs, MD, April 3 - May 9

Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at International Quilt Festival - Chicago, Illinois, June 20 - 22

Conversational Threads: Impressions in Fibre – solo exhibition in Trinity Art Gallery, Salon B, City of Ottawa; July 24 - August 19

Viewpoints 9   - "Equus," "A Rose for Sarajevo," "Madeleine," "Gaia in Repose," "Thermal Mask," "Clarke Quay Tiles: In Homage," at Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, Sept. 18-21, 2014

Celebrating Silver  –  "Precious Time" at International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas, October 30-November 2
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Quilt! Knit! Stitch! - Portland, Oregon, August 13 - 16
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Quilting Live!, Cobb Galleria, Atlanta, Georgia, September 11-13
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 2-4

Viewpoints 9   - "Equus," "A Rose for Sarajevo," "Madeleine," "Gaia in Repose," "Thermal Mask," "Clarke Quay Tiles: In Homage," QuiltFest Oasis Palm Springs October 2-4
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Overland Park, KS, October 9-11
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Fort Worth, TX, October 16-18
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Tinley Park, IL, November 20-22


Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" premiered at Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, August 8 - 11
Metaphors on Aging – "Musing" and "JBW" at International Quilt Convention, Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 6-8

I’m Not Crazy – travelling internationally July 2012 – June 2014
Art Quilt Portfolio: People & Portraits – Houston IQF - Oct 2013 traveling through 2016
OVQG biennial quilt show, Ottawa (May 10-12)


2012 Biennial, Visions Museum, San Diego, CA (April – February 2013) 
La Conner Quilt Festival, La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum, WA – 2nd place Master’s Appliqué awarded to Homeless Love (October)
Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition, Tainan, Taiwan (May-December)
Fantastic Fibers, Yeiser Art Centre, Paducah, KY (March-May)
Art Quilt Elements, Wayne Art Centre, Wayne, PA – Heartstrings Award to Memories of Gombe (March 30-May 13)


People & Portraits in Quilts: A World of Beauty - International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX (November 1 - 4)
Infinity Gallery’s Fiber Arts online exhibition (May 15 – July 15)
Layers of Memory exhibition - travelling with Mancuso across US until June 2012
Sacred Threads - Herndon, Virginia (June 22 - July 4)
OVQG biennial quilt show, Ottawa (May 6-8)
National Fiber Directions - The Wichita Center for the Arts - Wichita KS (March 25 - May 8)


Interpretations - Visions Art Quilt Gallery, San Diego, CA (November 14, 2009 - January 17, 2010) Shenkman Arts Centre, Ottawa (July)


OVQG Quilt Show, Ottawa, ON (May 8 -10)
Synthesis Alternate Show - Cumberland Gallery, Ottawa, ON (March 25 - April 29)
Synthesis - travelling through Cape Breton, NS,  Liverpool, NS, Calgary (March 10 - May 31)
Creativfestival, Toronto ON (October)
OVQG Quilt Show, Ottawa, ON (May 8 -10)
Blink Gallery, group show, Ottawa, ON (July 17-20)
Fibre Expressions - Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte, ON (July)
Planting Joy, Westin Hotel, Ottawa, ON (May)


“Orchard Celebration” fibre art mural - The Glebe Centre Long Term Care Facility, Ottawa, ON. 2008
“Neighborhood Perspectives” 50-ft. wide fibre art mural commissioned by the Public Art Program of the City of Ottawa, permanently installed in the Glebe Community Centre, Ottawa, ON, 2004

Publications & Television

To be featured in Textielplus, Denmark, 2017

To be featured artist in book Art Quilt Retrospective: 50 Years of Innovation, to be published in 2017

Featured in Issue 3 of Art Quilt Collector, published by Studio Art Quilt Associates, May 2016

Featured in Art Quilt Studio from Somerset Studio magazines, Summer 2016

Featured in Machine Quilting Unlimited, in article “An Amazing Menagerie of Quilts,” by Diane Rusin Doran, Nov/Dec 2014

Australian Patchwork & Quilting in article, “Inside the Quilter’s Studio: Mary Pal,” V. 23 No 12

Featured in British Patchwork & Quilting, in article “Studio Art Quilt Associates – Celebrating 25 Years,” November 2014

Featured in 1000 Quilt Inspirations, by Sandra Sider, Quarry Books, 2015

Featured in The Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting by Linda Seward, Sixth & Spring Books, 2014

Quilting Arts Magazine, featured in article “Creating Realistic Portraits,” by Martha Sielman, Issue 63, June/July 2013
Art Quilt Portfolio: People & Portraits by Martha Sielman; as featured artist, 2013
American Craft magazine, featured in article on Innovation in Craft by David McFadden, Fall 2012
Art Quilt Portfolio: People & Portraits by Martha Sielman, Lark books, 2012
Humor in Craft by Brigitte Martin, Crafthaus, 2012
The Studio Quilt, No. 6: State of the Art by Sandra Sider, 2011
Series 800 Quilting Arts TV, Episodes 810 and 811, 2011
“Spotlight on the Artist – Mary Pal,” in Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 48, Dec-Jan 2011, pp. 84-87
“Art Imitating Art,” SAQA Journal,  Vol 20, No. 4, Fall 2010, p. 12-13


Michigan State University Museum – permanent collection
Susquehanna University Art Gallery - permanent collection
Private Collections – Nysha Nelson, TN; Del Thomas, CA, G Muehllehner, WI among others

Related Experience

Instructor of textile arts, 1997-2013, various quilt guilds and quilt shops, Algonquin College, Art Quilt Santa Fe, Birmingham Quilt Festival, Taiwan International Quilt Festival, Kingston Fibreworks

Lecturer and keynote speaker – various international venues 2001-2015

Juror – The View From Here – Quilts of the Ohio River Valley, October 2012


1972-77 – Bachelor of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

                 Bachelor of Arts, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB


Contemporary Textile Studio Co-operative, 401 Richmond Street, Toronto ON

SAQA - Studio Art Quilt Associates

OVQG - Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild (Past President)

Craft Ontario - Professional member

Canadian Quilters’ Association