Mary HarkProfessor of Design Studies

Cloth is an elemental part of my studio work. It is important to me as material and metaphor.

I began serious work as an artist in the Fiber and Material Studies department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I earned an MFA. Previous to this, I studied with master papermaker Tim Barrett at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. My studio practice and my teaching philosophy have been well supported by a foundation that deeply respects tradition and process and is profoundly aware of the poetry in materials.

Teaching allows me the opportunity to work with young artists and non-artists who come to develop their creative life. In teaching, I attempt to create a space where a wonderful breadth of work is always in progress. With textiles as the starting place, the material world can be drawn upon freely and celebrated, boundaries between media can be softened, traditions are valued, and new questions can be asked. For me, to study art is to explore what you value, to ask the questions that help you to name it, and then consider the implications of this investigation. Entering this work through the door of a textiles studio can offer an artist room to consider a great range of possibility.

I am proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper Studio. I was also a 2006 Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A white woman smiling, with short hair, wearing glasses, a black shirt, and a long necklace.


  • Design Studies

Degree Program

  • BS Textiles & Fashion Design
  • MFA Human Ecology: Design Studies


  • MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Office: 2283 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-262-1367