Winter Barn

Foothills Gallery

Artist Mary and June Shobe

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         Mary (Scratchboard, Acrylic, Pen and Ink, Color Pencil) has been doing crafts most of her life, learning skills from her mom that would benefit her later in years. “I remember as a young girl going to home economics and the teacher asking if anyone knew someone who could do different crafts. I would raise my hand and say, “my mom could,” or “I can show you how my mom taught me.” Mary received her first art lessons in the fall of 1999, taking a basic drawing/painting class in acrylics from artist Vivian Edwards. “As an amateur photographer, I learned that the ability to see a good picture also allowed me to be able to recreate one from pen and ink. I also had been doing cross-stitch for many years using my own colors in the patterns, so I had a good working knowledge of color. My teacher was my mentor; she encouraged me to continue learning to use pen and ink. Since pen and ink and watercolor work well together, I naturally progressed into doing watercolor paintings. With Vivian encouraging me to try different techniques I learned Scratchboard which has become my main media. I also work in acrylic and colored pencil.” Mary was born in Fort Myers Florida where birds became a very large part of her life. “My mother raised parakeets, finches and lovebirds. I learned first hand how beautiful birds are. Being raised in a tropical environment I had plenty of wild birds to study and enjoy. The time spent around birds gave me the ability to paint birds easily. I love animals and enjoy watching wildlife and appreciating nature.”

        June (Brazilian Embroidery and Fabric Art) June attended the Boston school of the arts. She and her husband Harold worked in ceramics at her studio in Massachusetts in 1962 thru 1965 and at The Wishing Well Studio in Naples, Florida from 1966 thru 1969. While living in Florida in 1969, she painted murals for the Big Cypress Center, located in Naples. She won numerous awards for her ceramics. June and Harold made the trophy for the beard growing contest held at the Swamp Buggy weekend in 1968 and 1969. June has been doing fabric art for 45 years. She has won many ribbons on her embroidery and quilting. June does antique quilt patterns and designs her own. June was a quilting and Brazilian embroidery teacher in South Carolina. June is the first place winner in the Original Sewing & Quilt EXPO 2004 People's Choice Embroidery Challenge, presented by Stitches Magazine, Profitable Embroiderer Magazine and Brother International, for the category of Best Use of Novelty Threads in Embroidery for her entry of Brazilian Embroidery.

Brazilian Embroidery

History - Embroidery, in its most basic terms, has been with us since time immemorial. Over the centuries, basic stitches have evolved into the more complex and elaborate needle works we know today.

Embroidery of any kind uses stitches known and used for hundreds of years in countless ways and for many different purposes.

Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery is no exception. The difference is that it doesn't limit itself to specific stitches: it uses stitches from all types of needlework. Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery is a style of embroidering where you can choose from the whole palette of stitches and knots you know.

Another difference in this style of embroidery is the thread. Rayon was introduced in the mid 1800's and by the turn the century, was the first man-made fiber in full production. Although it is manmade, rayon is not a synthetic fiber but regenerated natural fiber (cellulosic material, generally wood pulp). Rayon has long been the preferred thread for this style of embroidery because of its sheen and smoothness. Most stitches, especially bullions (which are used extensively for their dimensional effect), are much easier to make because of the thread's smooth texture.

Now we come to the question if the stitches aren't Brazilian and rayon isn't Brazilian, what does Brazil have to do with Brazilian embroidery? Well, many times throughout history, credit goes not to the inventor, but to the ones who popularize an item. Brazil started producing multicolored rayon threads in several weights. The popularity of the thread spread rapidly throughout Brazil to the point where variegated rayon embroidery became know as vari-cor embroidery. It wasn't long before the rest of the world noticed its popularity and immediately adopted it as "Brazilian".


Scratchboard or Clay Board is a unique art medium where as the artist renders the picture on a Masonite board, which has been covered with a fine white china clay, then covered with black ink. The artist then scratches through the black ink down to the white clay to render unbelievable detail in the artwork. It is a very striking Black and White, which can also have color added. After the entire engraving has been completed in black and white, several layers of transparent watercolor or Ink are applied. The engraving is then re-scratched to blend and highlight certain areas. Additional color may be added to reach the final result.

 Scratchboard is a wonderful medium to represent wildlife because of the intricate detail, sharp contrast, and wonderful texture that can be achieved -- the subject comes alive before your eyes as the engraving progresses. The completed scratchboard engraving combines the best of two worlds the beauty of a full color painting along with the detail, texture and precision of an engraving.

 The History of Scratchboard

 Modern scratchboard as we know it originated in the 19th century. Originally, cardboard was coated with chalk, but this quickly progressed to the use of India ink in parts of Europe which prevails to this day. Scratchboard became popular for its finer line appearance, and could be photographically reduced for reproduction easily without losing quality. Up until the 1950s it was used mainly for advertising and editorial illustrations. In more recent years it has made a comeback as an appealing medium. More recently Clayboard, or Scratchboard, a finer medium, has been created to provide easier and more detail works.