Spending time with Mary as she describes her art reinforced my sense that age is just a number.
Art was always a part of Mary's life.
"My father was an architect and painter," she said. "I always remember him painting and drawing everyday."
Mary's formal training began when she was 12 when she was enrolled in a drawing class. It was then she was encouraged to be original. Her teacher said, "Have your own style."
That edict influenced Mary and the direction her art took. She has worked in clay as a potter; studied color and design at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) and oil painting at Iowa State.
While working for an advanced degree at ISU, Mary discovered the art of handmade paper from now retired art professor Donna Friedman.
Paper is now Mary's medium of choice.
"Donna introduced me to paper," said Mary. "She's a great teacher."
Mary's studio is in the lower level of her spacious townhouse in the Northcrest Retirement Community.
There, surrounded by many of her framed paper works and some of husband Dick's watercolor paintings, Mary does her thing. She has found her own style and has been doing paper sculpture for 20 years.
The pulp she uses to sculpt her designs is made from soaking old computer punch cards. The pulp is placed on a screen, and "the designs happen," says Mary.
Mary's work has been shown in galleries in Marshalltown, Grinnell, Grimes and in Ames at the Octagon Center for the Arts.
Most recently, Mary was commissioned to create a sculpture for the entryway of the Northcrest Community's new main building.
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