Mary F. Burnley holds a BA in Fine Art from Murray State University, Murray, KY and an MA in Fine Art from the university of Louisville. In art school she received an education in the traditional disciplines of drawing, painting, and sculpture, but fell in love with textiles.
Mary grew up in a rural area where women sewed, knitted and quilted to make needed items. She also had a strong interest in ancient history. Combining these two interests, she used traditional textile techniques to interpret designs motifs from other cultures.
As Mary began making metal works, she continues to work with some of these same motifs. She makes her jewelry, which she considers small sculptures, from her work designs. She cuts all components from sheets of metal and wire and then shapes, textures, and etches them. Her pieces often include what could be called “glyphs”—incised or raised figures or marks that represent words or ideas.
She inishes the pieces using traditional and innovative patinas, sometimes also adding crystal and lampworked beads. Being a contemporary artist living in the city, she calls her works “Metroglyphs.”
Work by Mary Farnum Burnley can be found in private collections at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.