Raised on a remote ranch in Idaho, Mary learned how to create practical, well made garments from her mother at a young age. From her grandmother she learned the delicate and demanding art of hand work. By the time she was in Jr high school she was making nearly all her own clothes, helping her mother in making garments for her three younger brothers. In high school she often designed and made prom dresses and other special garments for friends and family.
After graduation, Mary went on to expand her skills working as a wedding consultant and dress designer. When asked to make kilts for a local bagpipe band, Mary was up to the task and soon became one of very few professional kilt makers in the United States. In 1987 she took a position as a stitcher for the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland, OR, one of the biggest and busiest theatrical costume shops on the west coast.
Over the next ten years she amassed a great deal of experience in a wide variety of sewing techniques and styles constructing many period costumes for both men and women including corsets, tailored doublets, and renaissance gowns, many of which were displayed in OSFA's museum. During this time she became a specialist in working with leather and was often given the task of constructing one-of-a-kind leather garments including a pair of Italian leather pants and Spanish leather jacket. Mary's theatrical resume includes design and construction work for many theaters including the Oregon Cabaret Theater, the Britt Festival's Lryic Theater, Portland's Stage II and the Berkeley Rep.
Mary also has a background in education with experience in working with talented and gifted students as well as adult learners. Her own formal education includes study at both Southern Oregon University and the University of Oregon.
Mary is a member of American Sewing Guild and the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.