A stitch in time can create beautiful art

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ROSEMARY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - One Rosemary Beach woman keeps herself in stitches. But her artwork is no laughing matter. For Mary Zahner her 3rd floor studio creates the perfect buffer between her creative side and her analytical side.

“I do all this head work, mind work, with my management consulting, which again I love, and this is just a nice complement to it,” said Zahner.

Zahner creates thread paintings.

“It’s straight sewing,” said Zahner. “Just kind of go back and forth.”

Think of it as paint by numbers, but with thread instead. And there's no need to stay within the lines.

“The important thing is being able to blend,” said Zahner.

Mary snaps photos, puts them to fabric, and then matches colored thread to the colors in the picture.

“I’ll see a picture or a photograph that somebody has taken and I think gee, that’s a great composition and great colors," said Zahner. "That would really look nice in a thread painting.”

So nice, one of her thread paintings temporarily calls the Pensacola Museum of Art home.

“It was such a captivating photo with the bamboo forest and whatever (else)," said Zahner.

Zahner's been thread painting for only three years, but has been quilting for several decades.

“I love experimenting and being creative, and it was just something – I saw an ad in a magazine, quilt magazine. It just caught my attention,” said Zahner.

And the attention of others.

“I do want to exhibit more," said Zahner. "In January 2018 I’m going to be at the Bay County Library. They want an exhibit of my work.”

Zahner says each thread painting takes about 30 to 40 hours to complete.

“I just immerse myself in it to the point where I don’t think about eating," said Zahner. "Time just goes past. And it’s just gives me a sense of peace and tranquility. And I feel like I’m accomplishing something.”

Something that takes her mind off her day job by making everyday thread seemingly come to life.

“Whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes to come up and sew, that’s my passion,” said Zahner.