July 14, 2020

Mary Roley - Fire & Sense of Place

Mary Roley - Fire & Sense of Place

Mary combines blown glass and fabricated steel elements into captivating sculptures that evoke natural and built landscapes of the rust belt and the Midwest. She says that the physical nature of a traditional craft helps her clear and create mental space. Mary shares her experience working 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, in 120 degree heat, and her passion for arts education and recess in the schools. You’ll need a cold drink after this episode!


  1. Don’t wait for confidence. You get confidence by doing.
  2. Suit up and show up because you never know what's going to happen. Even if it’s a terrible day in the studio, you might just meet someone that really lifts your spirits and makes you think about your work differently.
  3. Let go of all the rules that say art has to be this way or that way. Just do it because you want to.
  4. The best revolution we could have for the preservation of democracy is to do it yourself.

Mentioned in this Episode

Follow Mary on Instagram

Penny McElroy at the University of Redlands

Mary’s internship in New Jersey pouring bronze casts for different artists led me to research the sculptors she worked with. Check out the trailer for this fascinating documentary “Julian Schnable: A Private Portrait.”

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Ox-Bow School of Art

American Craft Council list of schools with craft workshops and courses

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts Sculpture program

University of Wisconsin Madison Glass Lab

Women’s Caucus for Art 

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest 




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