ELYRIA, Ohio — In the modest and very neat Elyria home of Mary Ann Tipple, there is a whirring melody which comes from one of the rooms. It has a steady rhythm to it of which Tipple is very familiar.
She serves as a director, pulling the sound from the machine from where the steady "tet-tet-tet-tet" emanates. Tipple is on her sewing machine, directing the threaded needle to where it needs to go as she fashions another quilt.
"I love to sew," she said, not looking up from her work. "And then when I found out how I could incorporate the photograph..." She didn't need to finish the sentence because in her hands was her latest quilt which incorporated a photograph.
Because of her ability, the Elyria woman has been selected by Quilt National, an organization which features some of the best pieces of work in contemporary quilting. Selected for both a national and international exhibition is her quilt which she named "Can-de-monium." It is her photograph of a horse and rider in a rodeo barrel race. To add more action to the photograph printed on a soft cloth, Tipple used tucks and folds of the fabric. "It was to really emphasize the centrifugal force and the talent it takes to stay on a horse that's moving that fast, " she said.
However, Tipple is widely known for other types of quilts, namely those which involve old photographs of her family members. The walls of her home are filled with quilts bearing the photographs of her parents, grandparents, a brother, and aunts, and uncles.
"Photographs are kind of flat," she said, so with her sewing machine, she adds tucking and puffing to the photographs to bring more texture to the pictures.
She is a retired advertiser who in her career handled photographs. Eighteen years ago, she brought her ability to use a camera and to recognize quality photographs to the art of quilting. At 71, she is a repeat honoree of Quilt National. Getting the honor of having one of her quilts on display at Quilt National '19 in Athens, Ohio, and later bound for both national and international tours brings a big smile to her face.
"Oh, it's huge," exclaimed Tipple. "Just getting in; it's like, Oh, God; I got in again."
Tipple is very reflective about her work, especially those quilts which bear likenesses of her family members. "we can find where e came from and all that doesn't really matter," she said, pausing before continuing her thought. "But the big question is why are we here."
Mary Ann Tipple knows one of the reasons she lives is use photographs and quilting to tell the stories of her ancestors.