Mary Mueller

Mary Mueller was raised in a cabin on King Salmon Creek in Southwest Alaska. To pass the time during the long dark winters, her mother taught Mary to carve. Their cabin had no electricity, running water or plumbing. However, her childhood was enriched by the unique natural landscape that filled her life. Mary recalls the Naknek River as a shimmer of pure white, a reflection of the bodies of wild swans, and the air filled with their eerie cries during mating season. Surrounded by wild flowers, animals and migrating birds, whooping cranes, geese and swans, she recorded all the magical scenes in drawings and now shares her memories through her work.

As a young adult, Mary traveled extensively exploring Europe, Greece, Mexico and Central America, but Alaska always called her back. When she was 28, a friend introduced her to the art of scrimshaw, giving her a piece of fossil ivory and an engraving point. At that moment she knew she had found her life’s work. Mary uses ancient material. Mammoth ivory and fossil ivory is found during the Alaskan spring as melting Arctic snow and ice uncover the earth to reveal its long buried beauty. “I tune into the character of the ivory itself, and sometimes I don’t even know what the image will be when I start the piece. When that happens, it is always one of my best works.” 

Mary returned to Alaska in 1984 and live in Anchorage until her recent move to Washington State. Her work is found in many galleries in Alaska and throughout the United States. She is also featured in major publications on scrimshaw.

“You don’t choose a piece of Mary Mueller’s scrimshaw, it choose you. There is a spiritual quality within her art that captures the wonder and beauty of Alaska like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” – G. Lynch

Face of a Woman Pendant
Face of a Woman Pendant - Mammoth Ivory with Zirconia by Mary Mueller
Seal Pin/Pendant
Seal Pin/Pendant - Mammoth Ivory by Mary Mueller