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Painting with Watercolors, Painting with Wool

"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."

By: Mary Michola Fibich

Irises, 18" x 24", #3- and 4-cut hand-dyed wool on monk’s cloth.  Designed by Mary Michola Fibich and Katie Puckett; hooked by Mary Michola Fibich, Jacksonville, Florida, 2009.

I wrote this quote on a slip of paper 25 years ago. Since then, I have placed it on my desk in every home I have lived in. Little did I know that Roethke’s words would be the inspiration for the work I would do someday.

I am a rug hooker, painter, art therapist, and poet. Nature has always been the place where I find both solace and energy. As a child in Colorado, I was fascinated by flowers—finding a wild columbine on a mountain hike seemed like a small miracle. And nature images became prominent in my art and poetry in my younger days.

During undergraduate and graduate school, I studied and loved all art mediums, especially watercolors, oil paints, and collage. In the early 1990s, I completed my master’s degree in art therapy from George Washington University and began working in Washington, D.C. as an art therapist in a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment program.  

My workdays were filled with painful images of clients’ traumatic experiences. Art helped them to communicate what was inside, and I was honored to do what I could to help. With a need to unwind and refresh after work, I turned to hiking and photographing nature, yet I needed something more. I often taught watercolor painting in my therapy groups, where my clients and I found that it was grounding and cultivated mindfulness. I started painting more in my free time, and what began as a way to replenish myself evolved into a part-time business creating commissioned flower paintings.


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