Medium: Paper cord and paper
Credit Line: Gift of the artist. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM2015.21ab
Mary Merkel-Hess is an innovative fiber artist who creates forms that evoke the tradition of basket weaving, but which transcend the traditional function and use to become sculptural representations of the Iowa landscape that surrounds her. She was born in and continues to live in Iowa. The rural landscapes of carefully planted fields and lush vegetation found in Iowa have long been an inspiration. Her vessels became her austere interpretations of the fields of gently swaying prairie grass and crops seen in her daily life. Merkel-Hess creates her baskets by a combination of collage and papier maché, layering paper over a mold, held with glue, while adding other natural elements of reeds, cords, and fiber to enhance the structure and visual quality.