Size: Sound recording: 5 sound files (4 hr., 11 min.) digital, wav
Transcript: 86 pages
Format: Originally recorded on 3 memory cards. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr.,11 min.
Summary: An interview of Mary Merkel-Hess conducted 2010 August 24 and 25, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Merkel-Hess' home, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Mary Merkel-Hess speaks of growing up in the rural Midwest; deciding pursue an artistic career; studying philosophy at Marquette University and earning an MFA the University of Wisconsin-Madison; becoming part of the art community in Iowa City; beginning her artistic career in metalsmithing and later transitioning into fiber mediums; using basketry and papermaking methods along with a variety of materials to devise original techniques; the role of light, balance, juxtaposition in her fiber sculptures; working from both natural and human impacted landscapes; traveling extensively through Europe and Japan; attending the Armory Show and SOFA Santa Fe; interacting with galleries such as Browngrotta Art Gallery and Olson-Larsen Galleries; completing public and residential commissions; supporting herself through the sale of her work. Mary Merkel-Hess also recalls Chungi Choo, Heikki Seppä, Tim Barrett, Alma Eikerman, Shereen LaPlantz, Jack Lenor Larsen, Tom Grotta, Marlene Olson, Wendy Haas, Katie Gingrass and others.