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[Book Review] Knitted, Knotted, Twisted and Twined

Knitted, Knotted, Twisted, and Twined
The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu

Through the years some artists have had an impact on my jewelry
making life. Among those most prominent is Mary Lee Hu. I discovered
her amazing wire work when my husband and I were in Los Angeles. We
walked into a gallery and her jewelry was exhibited there. The light
reflective shimmering undulating surfaces were spellbinding. I
contacted her at the University of Washington and subsequently
signed up for her textile technique and wire workshop in Arizona. As
far as my story goes, I was hooked.

Mary’s jewelry and sculptural pieces exhibited in the retrospective
show at Bellevue Arts Museum are her history. The beautifully crafted
catalog/book of 100 exceptional chokers, earrings, broaches, and
neck pieces chronicles her artistic growth as a student and
subsequent master of her craft.

All renderings and notations are very insightful. They demonstrate
an artist working on a concept and then carrying it to fruition. This
is a wonderful way for the viewer to experience the creative process.
One example is the bracelet on the first page of the portfolio
section. Another example is the bracelet #37. Each piece is flawless.
The fine silver and gold wirework, whether knitted, knotted, twisted,
or twined, is an extension of self.

Mary always brought some of the beautiful twine structures, as
featured in this book, to her workshop sessions. Her students were
able to personally visualize their movement, design, and intricate
wire and fabricated construction first hand. She also shared many of
the chains and belts that she had collected during her many travels
throughout the world. It is obvious that many of these samples
constitute a major influence on her growth as a critically acclaimed
international artist.

This book/catalog also has a section in the back that explains
various techniques for “working with wire.” Great starting point for
those whose interest has been whetted, but don’t know where to begin.

I was also fortunate to be able to study with Heikki Seppa. Heikki
was a friend and colleague of Mary Lee Hu and a devoted admirer.
Several of her small fine silver wire insects were nesting under the
glass top of his coffee table. Since he knew I was fascinated with
textile techniques, he would take them out for me to touch. Instead
of firing up the torch, we would spend the afternoon studying and
discussing the life-like renditions of these small creatures.

I am so proud to know Mary Lee Hu and be the recipient of this
beautiful catalog/book. The photographic details are breathtaking.
If one doesn’t own one of her spectacular fine silver or gold pieces,
the next best thing would be to purchase this catalog/book and marvel
at the unbelievable “Knitted, Knotted, Twisted ad Twined” creations
featured in full splendor.

Please visit my site at Once
there, you can read my other reviews of Lark Booksand Kalmbach Press
publications. Click any book image on my site if you decide to
purchase this book or any other books on

Ray Wenneker


Mary Lee Hu is one of my heroes. I won’t recount the long story about
how incredibly generous she was to me when I was planning to relocate
from Southern California in order to study with her at the University
of Washington. Her jewelry art expressed my dreams and I was
determined to work with her.

Alas, it never happened; life happened. But I’ll always think of her
as not only a profoundly fine artist but a loving and giving person.


Great show, great book, great photos. I think that it’s important to
remember the photographer. Doug Yaple here in Seattle makes a great


I received my copy of the book today. It is gorgeous!!! I would love
to see the exhibit in person! I am privileged to have taken
workshops with her. She has been a great inspiration to me and my


Same here. I was fortunate enough to to take a workshop with Mary
Lee as a beginning metalsmith. Until I took that workshop, I’d
thought that there was nothing new that I could do as a metalsmith.
Her work blew me away and my love affair with wire and the idea that
I actually could do something original with wire emerged. Can’t wait
for my copy of the book.

Lisa Van Herik

My copy came today–oh how I envy those of you who got to see the
show, not to mention those who’ve had a chance to work with Mary Lee
Hu. I love the book! And I thought it very reasonably priced,
especially for a hardback. Thanks so much for posting the review.

Can someone explain what/how she did the wire rim on the cover piece?
It looks like three wires to me, but I’m not quite seeing how that
would work.

Maureen M