Mary Maisch – Ode to Decay

FOBA 2021 Juried Exhibition

Completed 2020
Editions: 1
Dimensions closed: 7.75” x 7.75” x 3.5”
Materials: binders board, book cloth, eco-dyed Arches text wove and Rives BFK, Lamali Lokta papers, driftwood, wasp nest, cottonwood bark, spruce bark, moose tooth, lichens, rusty bottle cap, dried orchid blossom, waxed linen thread
Artist resides in Fairbanks, Alaska

We live in a state of decay. A walk in the forest in autumn brings one immediately to an appreciation of decay — the spicy scent of fallen leaves, the rank stink of high bush cranberry, the soft slippery odor of fungi. I walk outdoors to memorize autumn, to gather sustenance for the winter. 

A glance in the mirror on any day reminds one that decay is happening — the new grey strand, the wrinkle, a pucker of flesh. I walk outdoors where there are no mirrors. 

A trip to the doctor’s office can let decay smack one in the face — the thickening arteries, the aching joints, the fear of greater losses ahead. A walk outdoors is a soothing balm, a kind reminder that it is right that everything shall pass. 

Ode to Decay holds treasured artifacts from my walks: a piece of Lake Superior driftwood, a wasp nest found in my yard, a moose’s tooth found on a local trail. That rusty bottle cap was found along a suburban bike path in Portland. The lovely orchid flower fell on my windowsill. 

Mary Maisch (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Mary Baarlaer Maisch is a book artist living in and creating throughout the long cold winters and short bright summers of Fairbanks, Alaska. She is inspired by the great beauty and diversity of the natural world. She enjoys playing with colors of every hue, with patterns, textures, and materials of all sorts. Mary is a mother, daughter, wife, teacher, maker, reader, explorer, and life-long learner. She is an active member of the Northwoods Book Arts Guild and has taught more than two dozen book arts classes. Her work has appeared in Fairbanks galleries and in the Newport Visual Arts Center