Mary weaves patterns of the natural world!

Mary weaves patterns of the natural world!

As a part of our “What’s on your Loom” series, we feature the works of fiber artist Mary Burns. Mary creates weavings, feltings and  and eco-printed work that reflect the hues and patterns of the natural world. She gathers inspiration from many places and cultures, including the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Arts & Crafts Movement. 


Mary’s Ancestral Women Exhibit is currently on tour around the United States. Her work has been displayed in numerous exhibits and shows, including several art and science collaborations, and has received many awards including the Best of Show in Wausau’s Festival of Arts in 2012 and in 2008.

Mary is currently weaving portraits for her upcoming Women and Water Exhibit. The exhibit honors women who work with water, protect it and advocate for it. Here’s more about this exhibit:

Water is the source of all life. In many traditional cultures, water is imbued with feminine roles and symbolism. Women are the protectors of water, because women give birth and are seen as the keepers of water. This exhibit celebrates and honors water by portraying women who work with it, protect it and advocate for it.

Featured are women who are scientists, water-walkers, teachers, farmers, activists and healers, all who hold deep connections with water. This globally inspired exhibit will help develop and strengthen our own ties with water and inspire actions to further protect our waters. Hand-woven jacquard portraits of these women form the core of the exhibit.

Included currently are portraits of Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, First Nation Ontario, Canada; Autumn Peltier, Wikwemikong First Nation, Ontario, Canada; Rachel Carson, United States; Carol Warden and Emily Stanley, University of Wisconsin-Limnology Trout Lake Station; Aunofo Havea, sea captain, ocean steward, Kingdom of Tonga; Vaida Furanguene, Fatianca Paulino, and Querida Baringuinha of Mozambique.

Detail on loom from Rachel Carson’s portrait (border)

The exhibit will grow to 24 portraits or more. Several additional water-related pieces that tell important stories about water will also be created: Her hope is that the exhibit will travel nationally and internationally. Mary is currently researching and contacting women from around the globe who are working for water. If you know anyone who would be a good candidate to portray in this exhibit, please contact her manitowish@centurytel.net.

Mary’s work is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of Handwoven Magazine. Here’s the link to the article:

Handwoven January-February 2021


Studio tour and jacquard weaving demonstration with Mary: Click here


(Text and pictures courtesy: Mary Burns)