An interview of Mary Giles conducted 2006 July 18, by Jane Sauer, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the home of Jane Sauer, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Giles speaks of childhood summers spent on Pine Lake in Minnesota; receiving a B.S. in art education from Mankato State University, Minnesota; educational experiences at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; the influence of nature and Native American art in her work; finding inspiration in "woods and water"; spirituality; teaching elementary art in St. Louis for 28 years while pursuing her art; the materials she works with, including wax linen and various metals; the techniques she uses, such as coiling, twining, torching, hammering, and knotting; the importance of a studio; the appeal of natural aging and corrosion of materials; the competitiveness of craft fields in the United States; attending American Craft Council shows and Sculpture Objects & Functional Art expositions in Chicago; craft as art in the United States; her experience showing in galleries and struggles with pricing; participating in the Poland Triennale in Lodz, Poland, 2001; the pioneering efforts of female fiber artists. Giles also recalls Mary Lee Hu, Diane Itter, Jack Lenor Larsen, Walter Nottingham, Rianna DeRaad, Cynthia Schira, Ferne Jacobs, Barbara Rose Okun, Nancy Kranzberg, Jan Buckman, Horty Shieber, Duane Reed, Agnes Martin, and others.
Place of publication, production, or execution: New Mexico
General Note: Originally recorded 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 43 min.
Citation: Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Mary Giles, 2006 July 18. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding: Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Biography Note: Mary Giles (1944- ) is an artist of Stillwater, Minnesota. Jane Sauer (1937- ) is an artist and gallery owner of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Provenance: This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Location Note: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
interviewee: Giles, Mary, 1944-
interviewer: Sauer, Jane, 1937-
Subject: Kranzberg, Nancy
Subject: Itter, Diane
Subject: Okun, Barbara Rose
Subject: Martin, Agnes Bernice
Subject: Jacobs, Ferne K. (Ferne Kent)
Subject: Buckman, Jan
Subject: Nottingham, Walter
Subject: Schira, Cynthia
Subject: Hu, Mary Lee
Subject: Reed, Duane
Subject: Larsen, Jack Lenor
Subject: DeRaad, Rianna
Subject: Shieber, Horty
Subject: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
Subject: Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
Subject: Penland School of Crafts
Subject: Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Subject: American Crafts Council
Subject: Mankato State University
Subject: SOFA Chicago
Record number: (DSI-AAA_CollID)13564
Record number: (DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)261680
Record number: AAA_collcode_giles06