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Originally published May 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 11, 2005 at 4:56 PM

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Anacortes: Artfully weaving society's fabric

Those who don't sew may find making clothes beyond tedious, but to some, the art of garment creation is worth a lifetime of devotion. After her mother-in-law...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Name: Anita Luvera Mayer.

Hometown: Anacortes.

Affiliation: Anacortes Arts Festival.

How long she's been involved: More than 40 years.

Favorite memory from the event: Originally, the festival's artwork hung outside and organizers prayed for dry weather. That changed after one Saturday night when their prayers seemed to go askew. It rained — hard. Mayer and other volunteers rushed out to gather all the art before it was damaged. Now, the festival exhibits artwork inside a Port of Anacortes warehouse.

Her story: Those who don't sew may find making clothes beyond tedious, but to some, the art of garment creation is worth a lifetime of devotion.

After her mother-in-law gave her a loom for a wedding gift, Anita Luvera Mayer, volunteer for the Anacortes Arts Festival, began her path toward the fiber arts. Her simple beginning creating placemats and rugs grew into an affinity for embroidery, quilting and beading that is now her life's priority.

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Whatcom Museum of History & Art: "Looking Forward, Glancing Back: Northwest Designer Craftsmen at 50" exhibit, June 13-Oct. 23, featuring more than 100 contemporary works by Northwest artists, including Mayer. 121 Prospect St., Bellingham. Tue-Sun, noon-5 p.m., free admission. 360-676-6981 or www.whatcommuseum.org

Pacific Northwest Quiltfest: Aug. 13-15, 10 a.m-6 p.m.; quilts from across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, quilting lessons also available; Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, $8-18. 206-297-2490 or www.apnq.org/Quiltfest2004/)

The Depot Arts Center: Aug. 6-29, Mayer will coordinate the "City and Guild of London Design and Embroidery Exhibit," including about 30 pieces, a few of which she created. Seventh Street and R Avenue, Anacortes. Tuesday-Friday 1-4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free. 360-293-3663 or www.depotartscenter.com

"My garments are my wardrobe," said Mayer. "I create garments for people I love, for exhibition and for teaching. I do not sell them. My work is one of a kind and it's my soul and my spirit put into a piece and I don't know how to price that."

Much of her work now focuses on the stages of women's lives and their place in society.

"What I really am attempting to do is help women gain self-esteem, to like who they are and adorn themselves with pride," said Mayer.

Her breadth of involvement with the Anacortes Arts Festival is similar to her breadth of technical expertise. From creating a one-woman exhibition, fund-raising, erecting booths and hanging artwork, to winning best-in-show for a quilted kimono she created called "Fall Memories," she's dipped into almost all aspects of the festival.

ROGER SCHREIBER
Anita Luvera Mayer has been involved with the Anacortes Arts Festival more than 40 years.
The Juried Art Exhibition portion of the "Art at the Port" Fine Art Show displays crafts and artwork competing for more than $3,500 in awards, and brings in an outstanding cross section of the arts, says Mayer.

Her summer event:

Anacortes Arts Festival, Aug. 6-8, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Mask-making and face-painting for kids, plus jazz music, a beer garden and about 250 street artists. 6 blocks along Commercial Avenue from Fourth to 10th streets. More information: 360-293-6211 or www.anacortesartsfestival.com

— Jennifer Lloyd, staff reporter

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