Littleton Museum hosts Marie Agnes Conway quilt retrospective

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Marie Agnes Conway began sewing early — creating ensembles for herself and her two sisters. She graduated from Cathedral High School in Denver.

She married David Conway and they lived in Littleton, where they raised seven children: David (deceased), Daniel, Martin, John, Stephen, Paul and Jenise. They celebrated their 62nd anniversary before she passed away in July, 2012.

For a time in the 1960s, she had a dressmaking business on Littleton’s Main Street, called Marie’s, where she designed and sewed ensembles and costumes for customers.

When she retired from that business, she turned to her real love — quilting — and created many innovative wall hangings as well as functional quilts and in later years, smaller quilted pieces, such as totes and lap quilts.

“A Quilter’s Craft: Marie Agnes Conway Retrospective” is on exhibit at the Littleton Museum July 12 to March 16, 2013.

Her daughter, Jenise Conway, said there are about 50-60 works in the show.

While Conway used some traditional block patterns, usually her quilts were of her own design, each unique. She enjoyed the textures of fabrics as they passed between her fingers

The City of Littleton owns two Conway quilts in its art collection: “David’s Hometown” was designed and made for Littleton’s Centennial and dedicated to her oldest son as a memorial. It shows various recognizable scenes around town and has been displayed at the Littleton Center at times. She worked on it from 1985 to 1989, finishing in time for Littleton’s 1990 Centennial celebration.

There is also a mauve shantung silk spider quilt, her first art quilt, created in 1983 and purchased by the Littleton Fine Arts Board for the city collection.

She made several quilts of silk, but most are crafted from cotton fabrics, Jenise said.

“Flora” is an example of her original designs — a rosebud with little ladybugs and ants.

Some pieces are a collaboration — with Jenise or, in the case of a pillow, with her granddaughter for a 4-H project.

Her quilts were exhibited in several local shows: the Littleton Fine Art Board’s “Own an Original”; the Littleton Fine Arts Guild Depot Art Center’s “Great Frame Up” show; and the annual Western Welcome Week Arts and Crafts show.