My name is Mary Cottingham. I live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with my husband and assorted cats/dogs/horses. I work from a sunlit studio overlooking the barn, an ideal arrangement which allows me to keep an eye on equine shenanigans while I work.
My work is informed by the natural beauty and rich history of the Shore, but it is primarily storytelling. I roam the Delmarva Peninsula with my camera looking for inspiration in abandoned structures, miles of waterfront, and historic buildings, then extend the stories of these places with my art, using materials that have a history of their own…scraps of old needlework, maps, letters, vintage photos, ledgers, etc...
My abstract paintings and my textile work are both comprised of multiple layers. Many of my paintings incorporate scraps from my collections, while my textile work often includes scraps from previous paintings. I hope they also include a bit of mystery for the viewer.
At sixty-something, I may have left it a bit late to put my art out into the world in a bigger way, but I am thinking of two people as I write this…the lovely lady who stopped by my booth at the Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show and began to cry. She was looking at the only piece I had completed in the year after my mother died and told me she could feel the raw emotion. Also thinking of old Mrs. Whatsit, the high school guidance counselor who asked me what I was interested in and then laughed out loud when I said art, “because nobody ever makes a living doing that.”
MacQueen Gibbs Willis School of Nursing