Marj’s birth family moved from Pennsylvania to Carlsbad in 1965. Her parents are founding members of Carlsbad Mennonite Church. She grew up in Carlsbad and then attended college in Kansas, graduating with a BA in Art from Bethel College, Newton, KS. She met her husband there and they moved to Indiana to further his education. Their daughter, Audrey, was born in Indiana. After graduation, Dave accepted a teaching job in Saskatchewan, Canada, where they lived for five years. Their daughter, Erin, was born there. Marj painted with watercolors during this time and was one of two artists chosen at a local exhibition to create a body of work that would travel the province. Upon sudden closure of the school where Dave was teaching, he accepted another teaching job in Salem, Oregon. They moved to Oregon in 1996. Over the years, Marj worked at local libraries, provided caregiving, and, in 2008, developed her paper mosaic art technique using recycled paper and thrifted wooden “canvases”. She spent six years making paper mosaic art and displaying it in local juried shows, winning several awards. In 2014, she added jewelry-making to her repertoire. Using the same technique as for her wall pieces, she began creating jewelry from recycled paper and vinyl flooring scraps. She experienced much success selling her jewelry in juried shows, galleries, shops, and on Etsy.
Marj and Dave lived in Oregon for 26 years. They moved to Carlsbad in May 2022 to assist Marj’s aging parents, and to fulfill Marj’s long-time desire to return to New Mexico.
Marj gravitates toward vibrant use of color and extravagant patterning. Making something beautiful is what keeps her returning to her studio. She loves the hunt and play of combining colors and patterns in a way that sparks her own sense of pleasure. It is soul work for her. She likes the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “If eyes are made for seeing, then beauty is it’s own excuse for being.” She hopes that the same beauty that uplifts and inspires her, also has a positive impact on those who experience her art.