A Stitch in Time

A Stitch in Time

During the first year of a 15-year sentence for drug-related offenses, Ray Materson prayed for help. What he found was a tube sock.

He unraveled it, persuaded a guard to give him a sewing needle, and taught himself to embroider. His first piece was the M insignia of the University of Michigan, which was about to play in the Rose Bowl; as his skill grew, he began em-broidering narrative scenes of life outside of prison.

Materson, released in 1995, calls his craft his redemption. His miniatures, which contain about 1,200 stitches per inch, have shown at numerous prestigious venues, including the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Many broach social issues – middle-class drug use, for example; others, such as Mark Teixeira (above), bring his form full circle to the thrill of sports. You can see this work and others in “Baseball: The All-American Game,” at L.A.’s Craft and Folk Art Museum through September 9.