Improvisational quilt artist, author and workshop facilitator
Martha Jane Petersen's
About Martha Jane Petersen
Martha Jane is a self-taught fabric artist, creating improvisational art quilts. She has exhibited her quilts in many of the south eastern states plus Texas, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Born in Greenville, South Carolina, she learned the versatility of change with her family moving eleven times during her growing up years with her father's engineering job. She has lived beyond the borders of the United States in Mexico, Taiwan and for thirteen years in West Africa, which provided her with the opportunity to adapt to change and absorb innumerable rich experiences. Completing her undergraduate studies at Agnes Scott College, she went on to receive a nursing degree from Cornell University. In midlife, she gained degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian minister.
Art and writing have dominated her life apart from her roles as wife, mother and mission co-worker overseas. She wrote primarily for church publications in the United States and in Ghana, along with poems and a novel. Along the way Martha Jane explored art making in various forms which came to flower in retirement when she became a quilt artist. She and her husband Pete now call the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina home since settling in Black Mountain, NC. They have three adult children and five younger children who call her Grandma.
Martha Jane's art making began with school classes, local museum visits and private teachers around age ten. While living in Virginia, In Mexico with her family, her young eyes were opened daily to the vibrancy of color. It became a magical time of expanding her love of the written word, which continues to live side by side with her art making. Her writing continued to blossom throughout her school years, through writing contests, editing the newspaper and writing pieces for her college literary society. This continued through nursing school, where she wrote the class history for the yearbook.
With the busy world of raising children in various foreign countries, Martha Jane found time to continue both her art and writing - watercolor painting in Ghana and Chinese painting in Taiwan. Returning to the United States, her art making was explored, as a participant, through numerous workshops she attended. She went on to teach her first workshop on creativity in Montreat, NC in 1983, entitled The Eighth Day of Creation, combining spiritual teaching and art making.
Martha Jane Petersen's Writing & Art Experiences, Selected
Writing in Print:
God's Fire: A Personal Journey [into Africa], 1984.
Villa International Atlanta: Where the World Comes Home, the First 33 Years,
Imaging My Inner Fire: Finding My Path through Creating Art, a Memoir, 2013,
3rd place winner, Memoir Category, Independent Publisher Book Award.
Numerous articles in various publications.
Member, Montreat’s Arts Council, and Director of the 2005 Spring Art and Spirituality Conference, Montreat Conference Center, Montreat, NC.
Member, Asheville NC Quilt Guild; Fiber Arts Alliance of Western NC; Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts
Leader of art and spirituality workshops and retreats since 1993 in Montreat, NC Conference
Martha Jane's Quilts have been exhibited in many churches and galleries throughout the south and eastern states. Since 2013, a major commissioned art quilt was hung in the Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center.
Quilt Images in Print:
The Presbyterian Planning Calendar, 2008-2009.
The Christian Century, April 6, 2010.
WNC Woman, August 2012.