I believe that making things of beauty connects us, gives us joy and satisfaction and helps us carve out our place in the universe.  In a past world in which hard work, farming and childrearing consumed many women’s lives, their needles and spindles were weapons in their quest for their own identity.  Their creations are acts of love that transcend ephemeral and corporal existence.  These women created beauty and usefulness with materials at hand and in so doing, left us wonderful legacies of ingenuity, insightfulness and connectedness to a larger elusive universe. Our attention to their work allows us occasional glimpses of that universe and teaches that creating beauty offers the possibility of transcendence.

That is why I believe they did what they did.  That is why I do what I do.  Nothing has ever given me greater pleasure and I hope that present and future generations will find that same connectedness I discovered.  Handmade Meaning: The Value of Craft in Victorian and Contemporary Culture is a very exciting exploration of these past and present connections to women’s lives and it will help pass an important torch to the next generation of makers and appreciators.

–Mary Dickey


Mary Dickey, Box for my Ashes, 2002.

Mary Dickey is an artist based in Sauk City, Wisconsin. View more of her sculpture, assemblage, shellwork and jewelry on her website.