Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Field Trip: Mary's Gone Wild Treehouses/Bottles/Art


Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
With glitter and windows and brimming with vision,
Beginning to paint was your best decision!
You inspire others with your colorful themes,
Shining with hope and swimming with dreams!
-Katie Bush

Over ten years ago, God told Mary Paulsen to paint. She grabbed a window frame and began making her first work of art. She hasn't stopped since, and now people come from all over the United States to see her artwork and her famous treehouses, which she built herself.


"The first day, my husband just laughed at me and said that it was a ridiculous idea", she told me. "By 10 o'clock the next morning, I had sold that painting. He brought me lots more things to paint. Then I was laughing."

folk artist Mary Paulsen in the lighthouse gallery

Recently, Mary began creating structures out of empty bottles. Now visitors bring bottles to her so that she can keep on building. She tries to have a new structure done by each summer so that repeat visitors will keep coming back to see everything that's new.

a basket-like [future] flower bed

a boat made from bottles

she collects donations for Feed the Children

2011's newest structure, which will be a towering lighthouse


She also runs an antique shop outside of her home. This place is a sanctuary for dolls, little tchotchkes that no longer have a home. She puts them in her treehouses, her store, outside of her house.

with her house/shop on the left corner, this treehouse is parked right outside






Her backyard has become a work of art in itself. The "lighthouse gallery" is painted from floor to ceiling, filled to the brim with her artwork, and even the furniture is painted by Paulsen.

the lighthouse gallery, sign is above the suit of armor

Albert in the Lighthouse Gallery

^the ceiling of the lighthouse gallery



Mary is very proud of her accomplishments. She doesn't hesitate to tell you that she has been featured on Cape Fear to Down Here, or that her work is featured on the cover of North Carolina Curiosities. She's also been featured on television and the front page of her newspaper.

we pose for a picture with Mary and the work we bought from her


Mary's outdoor studio, treehouses, bottle structures, and home is located in Holden Beach, North Carolina. It is open to the public from 9am to 9pm. Mary's Gone Wild's official website can be found here.

Almost all of Mary's work is displayed outside, hence the stupid questions

^a boat model that Mary made herself

^my favorite piece, her bad hair day mermaid

^a bottle tree- there seems to be a theme of bottle trees among folk artists

The Southern Documentary Fund is featuring Mary's Gone Wild in an upcoming film. Red Door Home and Glitch NYC have posts about Paulsen's wonderland.

No comments:

Post a Comment