Mary Pow is an artist and designer specializing in two mediums: textiles and soft pastels. Mary has worked with textiles for over 12 years. Her soft pastel work is more recent; she fell in love with the medium after using it for the first time in 2018. Mary received the Jerome Project Grant for Emerging Fiber Artists in 2018-19. She was awarded Best in Show for Fiber at the Uptown Art Fair in 2022. In her textile art, Mary prefers clean, precise lines. In contrast, the immediacy of soft pastels allow her to express her playful and messy side.
Mary grew up in rural Minnesota, exploring the woods, fields, and barns on her family’s hobby farm. She took art classes constantly as a child and dreamed of becoming an artist. Mary received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1999. She earned her Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2002. After becoming a mother, Mary left the architecture field to pursue being a professional artist. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and three children.
In both my life and my art practice, I believe in trying things to see if they work. In fact, I’m not even sure that I accept the concept of 'mistakes'. I have confidence that if we regard everything as an experiment, we can enjoy a life filled with wonder and creativity. Through my art I hope to inspire others to see these kinds of possibilities.
In my textile art practice, color is my main element. My tools include a sewing machine, a rotary cutter and a straight edge, an iron, and a seam ripper. I cut my chosen fabrics, usually cottons and linens, and assemble them with a focus on texture and contrast. Then I cut again and again, and reassemble those pieces. The way I work mixes the techniques of drafting, quilting, collage, and weaving.
In my drawing practice, I use soft pastels on a special sanded paper. The pastel sticks I work with range from very hard to very soft, allowing me to fuse the skills of drawing and painting into one activity. I layer color upon color and use bold mark-making to explore the depths of my emotions and my relationship with the world.
My final event of the year! Art Attack 2023, at my studio.