Mary Jean Martin
“Poetry is a life –cherishing force. For poems are not words after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes indeed.”
     -Mary Oliver
                                                                                                                                                              Born and raised in beautiful Montana, I credit my grandmothers for teaching me a love of fiber. One taught me to sew, and the other to embroider. Over the course of my life I have been in love with (and maybe a little crazy about) sewing, embroidery, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, spinning, quilting, but most of all weaving.  I first learned to weave when I was in the Army stationed at Ft Bragg, North Carolina. There was a craft center on base with a weaving loom and a lovely woman there taught me to use it. I spent the next few years saving every penny to buy a loom of my own.  My life got a little rocky and I was forced to put weaving on hold. I rather forgot about weaving and played with all the other fiber loves of my life.  About six years ago, when I began to weave again, it was like finding an old and beloved friend.  I was a little sad at losing all that time but rejoiced in the renewed passion for the loom.
My ideas for weaving usually start with color. I see something that catches my eye (like colors in the clouds or spools of thread on the shelf).  I then begin to plot out the structure of the fabric based on what I want it to be – household fabrics or collage. The part I like best is taking the traditional craft of weaving and finding unexpected, modern interpretations. This often happens quite by accident, so sometimes I just laugh with joy at the surprise of it!
My mixed media pieces evolved from a need to use the normal weaving “waste” – end of warp threads and pieces of color samples.  I save these items in a bin and use them in collage with mono-printed papers, acrylic paint, ink and other fiber samples. When I am working with fabric and collage, I am always excited to see what happens next!
My poetry is color, combined into fabric and the process of weaving.  Ancient weavers and ten thousand years of evolving culture sit with me as I weave. I feel connected to these people and wonder what they thought about as they sat at the loom. 


Persimmon Gallery
537 Electric Ave
Bigfork, MT 59911
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