Born of German and Russian immigrants in Central Texas, Mary did not start her career as an artist right away. Mary traveled the world with the United States Air Force and then worked for several environmental consulting agencies in Austin, Texas. At the age of 40, Mary and a friend took some clay lessons at a local facility; it was then that she became addicted to clay.
The focus of her work is architecture. The buildings started as boxes. Lids became roofs, feet and chimneys appeared, and things go on from there, changing from season to season. Mary builds pieces from slabs and extruded pieces of clay, at times combining both techniques. When working with slabs of clay, she often makes paper patterns to work out design problems. The model is then taken apart and used to cut out pieces from slabs of clay. Extruded pieces of clay are cut apart and reassembled, with small slabs used to close the ends. The process is akin to playing with Legos.
“I make what I do in clay because I want to. Talking about the why and wherefore usually means taking liberties with the truth. What is true one day may not be the next. What you swear by one day, you curse the next. As with nature, a state of flux is the rule and means all is well”, says Mary.