Mary Lee Fulkerson
I’ll never forget the day when a new Reno transplant, Jimmie Benedict, drove the 35 miles to my Palomino Valley studio to get acquainted. There were no outlets for her quilted work or my contemporary baskets, and we decided to pull in some other women to join us in a group support system. That first meeting at Jimmie’s Reno home with three other women, including Jill Altmann, seeded the Wild Women beginnings. Soon Barbara and the Kathleens joined. What a wonderful group! We stimulated one another in our creations, travels, ceremonies, and annual exhibitions. I will never forget the Wild Women experience. Artists came and went, and this movement, I think, is what has kept the group fresh and full of surprises.
As for me, my arthritic basket hands gave out. What to do? I looked at some of my successful pieces and realized they contained words or allusions to reading. I remembered two books I wrote, both of them with my great friend, Kathleen Curtis. And I decided to become a weaver—not of baskets, but of words.
I began with memoir (and I encourage you to write yours!) Several of my essays have been published and I have two books in the works---one, Visionaries(described below), has been submitted to a publisher, and the other languishes on my computer for now. Next, I may compile my Healing Arts workshops into a book.
I was inspired to write Visionaries (description below) because of the incredible paths the artists have walked to achieve success. I applaud their courage, drive, and of course ability, along with their great big hearts. Each story could be a movie. And so could yours! So start writing! There aren’t nearly enough women represented in history! Our experiences are so different, and the world needs them so.
Whoever you are, no matter how wild, the Great Basin can give wings to your imagination. You might enjoy “Visionaries: Women Artists of the Great Basin”, the first book to highlight contemporary women sculptors (including a few Wild Women) from across this land of story and myth.
Mary Lee Fulkerson is author, and photographer Susan Mantle will blow you away with her images. The book should be available sometime next year, and we hope you will like it!