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Spartanburg, S.C. — University of South Carolina Upstate Associate Professor of Art Education, Dr. Mary Lou Hightower, has won the Award of Excellence for her work titled “Patriot’s Pride” at the 46th Annual Regional Juried Appalachian Show in Kingsport, Tenn. The exhibit is on display in the Renaissance Center from March 3 – 26.

Dr. Hightower has been exploring and researching the traditional quilt patterns and infusing these designs in a contemporary paper format. The patterns interact to form illusions of textural space. This intricacy of the grid and hidden images within the openings creates an environment to intrigue the viewer to observe the subtle nuances.

Hightower says, “In following this traditional art form, I have coined the term ‘watercolor patchwork’ to celebrate the legacy of the quilts and my love for watercolor media. Watercolor patchwork is a unique process where I have redesigned works through manipulation of materials incorporating textural materials to enhance the surface quality.  Patchwork as a traditional art form is defined by stitching various pieces of fabric together to form a larger piece. The idea of watercolor patchwork came from my interest in the folk arts and the quilting process.  I have always had a special fascination with quilts because of my grandmother, Emma Swartz.  She was an avid quilter and sewed patches every day until her death at age 95. Watercolor patchwork is also a special tribute to her and my father, Ralph Swartz.”

For more information, contact Dr. Mary Lou Hightower at (864) 503-5817 or mhightower@uscupstate.edu.

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