Mary Walker Phillips

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Mary Walker Phillips (November 23, 1923 – November 3, 2007) was an American artist, author and teacher. Born in Fresno, California, she earned an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and in 1962 moved to Greenwich Village, New York City.

Jack Lenor Larsen (a textile designer) wrote in the forward to Phillips' book, Step by Step Knitting, “she is the great knitter of our time. She has taken knitting out of the socks-and-sweater doldrums to prove that knit fabric can be a blanket, a pillow, a piece of art ... she demonstrates that knitting is a creative medium of self-expression.”

Her works are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design (Smithsonian) New York. She has written five books on knitting and macramé.

In 1984, she was awarded a fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for her last book, Knitting Counterpanes: Traditional Coverlet Patterns for Contemporary Knitters.

Her nephew John Phillips wrote a book about her ancestry: The Good Intent: The Story and Heritage of a Fresno Family (New York: Magnolia Group Press, 2007).

She died from Alzheimer's disease in Fresno.

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