Spotlight on Mary Jae

Our featured member artist Mary Jae explored many creative art forms over the years but nothing really excited her until she stumbled upon jewelry making. She saw a particular necklace she liked, wondered if she could make it, and after many errors and clumsy-looking attempts, finally got a wearable necklace and she was off and running. Friends, often so enamored by the necklaces she wore, begged to buy them right off her neck. Soon she found herself creating pieces for sale, and as she neared retirement as a special ed teacher, she was invited to join the Alliance Art Gallery in 2007.

Mary Jae allows herself to be tugged into any direction that attracts her. Beginning with stones and beads, she has moved through a nuts-and-bolts phase (literally) creating necklaces made of hardware and zippers, to using the tiniest seed beads to create incredibly complex designs such as peyote-stitch bracelets.

She abhors errors. “It drives me nuts,” she admits, even though no one else could possibly notice. “I take it apart. I see it immediately and I think everybody else will see it too.” In fact, it would be like trying to find a speck of salt in a pepper shaker.

Today she finds herself drawn to making beaded crochet-like scarves. Needing no clasp, they drape around the neck creating a soft, attractive, and very unique type of jewelry.

She rarely repeats a piece, however, if she likes a particular style of necklace, she may make it several times using different colors. Right now, she favors geometric patterns and strong colors.

“Jewelry sets the tone for the outfit and the mood of the wearer,” Mary Jae believes. “It can dress up or dress down any style you choose. It depends on the drama you want from your piece.”

Mary's work will be featured throughout the month of November with an opening reception on Saturday November 11 from 5 until 8:00. There will be a free drawing for a piece of Mary's jewelry at 6:00 that evening.