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Oral history interview with Mary Shaffer, 2008 April 13-14

Oral history interview with Mary Shaffer, 2008 April 13-14

Shaffer, Mary, 1947-

Sculptor, Glass artist

Overview

Collection Information

Size: 5 sound files (3 hr., 54 min.) : digital, wav

Transcript: 64 pages.

Format: Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 54 min.

Summary: An interview of Mary Shaffer conducted 2008 April 13-14, by Jospehine Shea, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Shaffer's home and studio, in Taos, N.M.

Born in Walterboro, SC, Shaffer speaks of her early childhood living in South America; her formative years being raised in Europe; her early artistic training in a European tradition; then studying art at the Rhode Island School of Design where she met her husband, artist Hardu Keck. She discusses her transition from working as a painter to experimental work in glass and conceptual art; being part of a community of artists that included Dale Chihuly and Fritz Dreisbach; and teaching as a means of support during the early years of her career. She discusses the importance of galleries in promoting her work, and how commissions enabled her to stretch and grow as an artist.

Biographical/Historical Note

Mary Shaffer (1947- ) is a glass artist in Taos, N.M. Josephine Shea (1958- ) is curator in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.

Provenance

This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Funding

Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.

How to Use This Collection

This interview is access restricted; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Mary Shaffer, 2008 April 13-14. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.