Mary-Dick Digges

2002 NAN Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Mary Bush Digges, known to her friends as Mary-Dick, was an internationally acclaimed needlewoman, teacher, author and publisher, and was educated at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and the Sorbonne in Paris. A member of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America since soon after its formation in 1958, she held Master Craftsman Certification in crewel, canvas and counted thread work. She served on the National Finance Committee and was Chairman of the Master Craftsman Committee on Crewel Embroidery. In 1973 she founded and was President of the Tidewater, Virginia EGA chapter for six years.

Mary-Dick was also a member of the Virginia Guild of Needlewomen, a group dedicated to the learning and teaching of needlework. She served as the Executive Chairman, Second Vice President and a Director as well as teaching classes regularly. She was an accomplished teacher certified by the Elsa Williams School of Needlecraft. At one time she owned and managed two needlework shops. As owner and publisher of Embroidery Research Press, Inc., she was a prolific writer and instrumental in the creation and distribution of books on embroidery. One of her proudest accomplishments was co-authoring Lady Evelyn’s Needlework Collection, a book on the embroidery collection of Lady Evelyn Stewart Murry housed in Blair Castle, Scotland.

Mary-Dick was dedicated to the learning and teaching of Japanese Embroidery and taught this ancient art to others around the world. She was deeply committed to sharing and spreading knowledge and skills, both hers and others. This was the impetus behind her writing and her drive to establish the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time of her death, she was collecting materials in anticipation of writing three more books. She never stopped sharing what she had — her files, her library, her supplies. Before her death, she divided up her teaching supplies to pass on to the new teachers in the fields of her interests. No small part of her legacy is the corps of teachers she trained.