Mary Jane Butters: Glamping!

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Though she exemplifies all that is genteel, refined, and ever-so-slightly old-fashioned, Mary Jane Butters has been on the cutting edge for years. During her childhood, long before it was trendy, she and her family lived close to the land, raising and preserving their own food and sewing their clothes. In her 20s she worked in Utah as one of the first female wilderness rangers in the United States and the only women hired to build houses at Hill Air Force Base. In the 1980s she raised her children in a house with wood heat, no plumbing, and no television. And in 1989 she became intrigued by organic farming: today she sells over 60 dried organic products through Paradise Farm Organics.

With a background like this, it’s apparent that Mary Jane isn’t afraid of hard work. As her organic farm prospered, she shared her environmentally conscious, health-minded lifestyle through MaryJanesFarm magazine, an “Everyday Organic” newspaper column, and four books. She runs a bed and breakfast on her Idaho property, created Pay Dirt Farm School to teach the business to new organic farmers, and founded Project F.A.R.M. (First-Class American Rural Made) to help energize rural businesses.

And now Mary Jane is a fabric designer. Her new line of fabric will be hitting the stores early in 2013, and she couldn’t be more excited.

“My mother and sisters, we quilted constantly—my mom made hundreds of quilts,” she says. “In junior high and high school we sewed every day—that’s how we got our clothes. We had a big ping pong table in the basement where we cut them out. My mom has passed on and won’t get to see it, but I know she’d love that I’m designing fabric.”

The new line, Glamping, will feature the light-hearted, feel-good imagery that abounds in her latest book, Glamping with Mary Jane (glamping is a combination of glamour and camping—a term Mary Jane coined when she set up her canvas-wall tent B&B). Bloomers and bras run up flagpoles, vintage trailers and cast iron bathtubs, and coffee cups with cheerful sayings keep the mood playful.

“I’m all about fabric,” says Mary Jane. “I walk into a fabric store and I just salivate.”

Amidst the farming, writing and editing, and activism she finds time to do more than salivate: she sews. And not surprisingly, her machine of choice is antique. “I have a treadle sewing machine mounted in my Airstream trailer,” she says. “I grew up using a treadle and I love and collect them. I just can’t resist them.” Old-fashioned or cutting edge? In Mary Jane’s world, it’s a little of both. 

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8 comments on “Mary Jane Butters: Glamping!

  1. Mimi says:

    Truly amazing….. not one search on the Moda web site finds Mary Jane Butters or Glamping…… what gives? Moda use to have a stellar web site for fabric companies and now it seems to just be so so???

  2. Mimi… Mary Jane is a brand new designer that will be introduced at Quilt Market. Her fabric collection and designer page will be posted the first day of Market. This blog post for Mary Jane is simply a sneak preview to let everyone know to keep a watch out for her upcoming collection. We do not post any collections on our website before they are sampled to our sales reps as company policy. We appreciate your patience and for choosing Moda Fabrics! Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to visit our website over the weekend for the latest and greatest from our designers.

  3. I’ll be on the look-out for Glamping–love Mary Jane!!!

  4. Fabulous review and article; MaryJane is the Martha Stewart of the granola crowd…love Butters!

  5. Mary Ann says:

    Fabulous fabric at Quilt Market! Can’t WAIT to own it!! My husband’s fifth wheel is huge, but I own a small SUV and am interested in having my own little “glamper” to tow for my little on-the-road sewing and embroidery business!!

  6. What a wonderful designer with so much to share with us. I’d love to spend the day with Mary Jane following her around and learning from her wisdom and her experience. Such a great interview!

  7. I love MaryJane and can’t wait to get my hands on the new glamping fabrics…thanks MaryJane and MODA
    such creativity!

  8. I saw this and just said to my hubby, OMG I so want this!

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