Changing How You See the World

Mary Ennes-Davis admits publicly that she doesn’t know how to measure. There is a gentle irony to the fact that many of her works of art feature rulers.

Though she grew up in a family of artists, Ennes-Davis pursued a marketing career, and had “little time to create with [her] hands.”  But a sailing trip to the Soviet Union revised her course of direction:

I saw a country lacking in many of the things that we take for granted. This changed how I saw the world, and rather than throw away used objects, I began to incorporate the forgotten pieces into jewelry designs. Whether a copper washer, an old key or a poker chip, I used the recycled pieces and invested them with a new life in the design process. As my art began to sell I realized I wanted to return to my creative roots and work as an artist.

And return she did! Ennes-Davis created jewelry, collage and sculpture, all utilizing recycled as well as varied cultural elements.

The themes in my work are universal: family, nature, play, celebration, making connections with others. My art work is a vehicle to share laughter, grief, self awareness, our differences and our common threads.

Her remarkable Guardian sculptures “rose out at the ashes of September 11th.” Mary fashions these beings from cast off items~used brushes, rulers, game pieces, casters, fishing reels, chopsticks~and manages to imbue them with the spirit of  “hope and laughter, honor and friendship, protection and love.”


Memorial Guardian~by Mary Ennes-Davis (used with permission)

The Guardians brought her work to another level:

Selling guardians was very different than putting earrings on somebody. They have a different connection to people. There’s a heart-string emotion with the guardians that’s different from other art.      (Art’s Alive! by Bev Crichfield in The Skagit Valley Herald)

Arts Alive Guardian~by Mary Ennes-Davis (used with permission)

Arts Alive Guardian~by Mary Ennes-Davis (used with permission)

As she testifies in her instructor bio for an Art and Soul Retreat:

I believe that there are common threads that connect us; emotions, experiences, what we do for fun, how and where we live. I try to share those threads in my art. I want to help people pause and consider how we are all connected. I believe that if we find those connections then there is a hope for peace.

I am so pleased to have found this  fervent recyclist, who incorporates the used, cast-off, and forgotten to create something new and unforgettable. Mary Ennes-Davis doesn’t just tell others to walk gently on the earth; she shows amazing ways to achieve this through art.


About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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3 Responses to Changing How You See the World

  1. Shirley Bartell says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! I LOVE the idea of earrings being ‘guardians’! My central purpose has become re-use, re-cycle, re-purpose. My personal symbol may just become the letters “re”.

    I’ve struggled SO with finding my own voice, formulating a theme. I’m getting better… artist friend suggested I do an altered book. I started with an old soft cover edition focused on re-styling old clothing that I had owned for several years but never used . Some of the illustrations whispered to me so I saved those but I couldn’t find a cohesive theme until the individual pages started to speak to me. For instance, one page features the illustration of a bra, which “told” me to slide back to the 60’s & 70’s and dedicate that page to music that related to burning ….. K.T. Oslin’s “80’s Ladies” (burned our bras and burned our bridges and burned our candles at both ends), the Disco tune “Burn Baby Burn”, etc. After I accepted THAT message the other pages began to quietly suggest their redirection to me. That altered book is still untitled but as I slowly work through it, my “theme creation” engine is becoming better oiled.

    I think much of my groping is related to my lack of education. I studied practical subjects in college, no electives, never graduated. I am not well traveled and not particularly aware of the world around me. I am unmedicated ADD and much of my energy goes into controlling my focus to my immediate surroundings. I am also hyper-sensitive to most medication and allergic to many foods. I found my bliss in creating art. It is such a heady drug (no pun intended)!

    I have a LOT of old jewelry, my mother’s and my own as well as pieces I’ve picked up over the years. Most is junque, a few pieces are handmade, some are deeply etched and I have used a few of those as rubber stamps onto tissue paper or have embedded the images into heat sensitive foam stamps to use on paper and fabric – to be used eventually in cardmaking and collage. Each in our own way, I guess. sab

    • carolwiebe says:

      Shirley, you speak from the heart with utter candor,and that wonderful energy is all you need to make art that is totally in your own voice.

      Everything you have written here has a history and a rhythm that you can translate into artwork. The education part is beside the point. We are all educated by life, some add formal education to the mix, but as long as we are breathing we are learning.

      Just keep working at it: you definitely have the longing. As far as I am concerned, longing plus hours in the studio will produce art you love. And if you love it, others will too. It doesn’t matter if everyone loves it.

  2. Dayna says:

    Carol, thanks for introducing me to this artist.

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