Felting, knitting, and beadworks have been hobbies of mine for many years. I am a self-taught artist; I enjoy learning new techniques and have attended many workshops. Following my recent retirement from a full-time career outside of the arts, I am now able to devote more of my time to creating artwear.
The inspiration for my work comes from my love of nature. I am drawn to natural elements, minerals, and gemstones, vintage, ethnic, and trade beads. Beads are thought to be the earliest form of trade between humans and beaded artwear has survived through the ages. Beads come in an infinite range of colors and shapes offering endless combination possibilities; I have always loved stringing these many facets together and each finished piece is one of a kind.
I love the tactile element of working with organic fibers of wool, silk, linen, and cotton whether in its raw form or spun into yarn for knitting. For wet felting, I apply hot water to layers of wool fibers, repeated agitation causes the fibers to hook together and weave into a single piece of soft fabric that I use on its own or cut into shapes and meld with silk to form scarves and shawls. For needle felting, I use special needles with notches along the shaft that catch fibers and tangle them to produce felt for creating fabric, jewelry, and sculpture. I love and am fascinated by what happens to the fibers and colors as I work through the felting process.
Visit my studio at The Arts Mill Studio and Boutique in Grafton, WI
Follow me on Instagram @maryackerman_artwear
You can find Mary’s work at our Gallery in the Arts Mill.