Biography and Artistic Statement 


I am from an Iowan town, grown up in the fifties in an architect built ‘Mid-Modern’ house and born respecting all that was handmade…in a time of ready-mades.

At the age of 13 my first real art class was watercolor painting, where my biggest memory is using a corncob as a brush. In my teens, many hot summer afternoons were spent embroidering a newly made shift in my Nana’s parlor or carving a staff to take to fields of wild grasses in my moccasins.

My high school career was more about making art projects out of academics, embellishing science note books and book report covers.

In the mid 60’s I entered a small women’s college giving me the opportunity to make strong woman friends and an art school portfolio.  Next stop was a big city art school challenging me with the rigors of the fine art basics.  I was sure I would be a potter but graduation requirements required me to take a weaving class. I went up to this pristine, brightly lit studio and fell in love with fiber.

Young Kate Russell Henry at her loom in the 1970's

During the early seventies, I wandered and investigated these beautiful United States bringing me to coastal Maine in 1972 where my love of fiber grew through natural dyeing, spinning and weaving.  Shows, fairs and open studios brought clients throughout Maine and the US into my busy wholesale business.

As my family enlarged, I paused my studio and moved on to arts administration managing a youth summer arts festival for well over 20 years.  

Handspinning art yarn has been a constant no matter my other obligations and interests. Slowly and spontaneously new work emerged, with a hook or a frame loom, taking sculptural form.  My entire life I’ve been an art gleaner. Parts of things with beautiful shapes, pieces of every pattern and vintage, have captured my attention and claimed space in my home. Now I have found a way of putting it all together, creating mixed media assemblages with fiber, paper and found materials.

I welcome you to these beginnings, and to my love of color, shape, line and texture of hand spun Maine fiber developed in sculpture, textiles, mixed media and paper assemblages.  


View 'Education and Exhibitions'.




      I do a lot of different things. People in this culture are a little bit critical of that.  They think that you should settle on one thing and master it.  Well, mastery doesn’t interest me.  There is a world full of virtuosos.  I can appreciate that and it’s wonderful.  But that’s not what I am.  I like to work as if I am at the beginning.

—Betty Oliver
(papermaker, sculptor, poet, teacher)