Fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess grew up in Evansdale and Gilbertville, Iowa. She received her B.A. in philosophy (1971) from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and her B.F.A. (1976) from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her M.F.A. in metalsmithing from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1983. She is married and has two children.


Her sculptural basket-like forms, which she refers to as “landscape reports,” are inspired by Iowa’s natural surroundings, where the landscape is dominated by billowing fields of grass and corn. Using reeds and paper, her work conjures images of slender grasses and cultivated fields, shaped and tamed like Iowa’s gridded landscape. Her continual use of the basket form is another symbolic reference to nature and life as it carries and stores the earth’s bounty.




About the author

Thereza Pedrosa

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Founder and Director of Beautiful People Live Art || Thereza Pedrosa was born in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) in 1985, and grew up in Bassano del Grappa (Italy) and in Lausanne (Switzerland). In love with Europe, she operates borderless from her new location near Leipzig (Germany). Graduated in Conservation of Cultural Goods at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, and a jewelry designer herself, she promotes contemporary artists and designers worldwide. Her engagement is manyfold: selecting the most promising trends, promoting contamination between the arts, by editing online and offline publications.