Mary Burns, weaver

Manitowish River Studio

Located in the heart of Wisconsin's Northwoods, Manitowish River Studio, is the production and display studio of weaver Mary Burns. The Northwoods area provides textural and thematic inspiration for her weaving. Mary blends natural materials such as wool and linen into rugs, wall coverings, carpetbags, throws, and shawls that reflect her love of the natural world. Patterns range in color from subtle to vibrant, and the designs range from traditional to contemporary.

The studio houses four looms, each capable of varying weaving widths and techniques. They include an 8' Cranbrook countermarche rug loom, a 10' AVL compu-dobby rug loom, and a 42" TC-1 jacquard loom. This is a working studio where the visitor is welcome to watch the weaving in progress.

Many finished pieces are on display in the studio. Portfolios containing prints and drawings of designs are available for viewing.


Unique to Manitowish River studio is the TC-1 jacquard loom. One of a small group of handweavers in North America to have a jacquard loom, Mary creates intricate designs on this loom in an astonishing array of rich cotton yarns. The jacquard loom allows the weaver complete control over every warp thread on the loom. In this case there are 1320 warp ends that are slightly heavier than sewing thread. This gives the artist the ability to create highly detailed weavings with great depth. The weavings are available in a variety of styles and themes in complex multicolored images. These include Celtic patterns, landscape images, historical interpretations, Arts & Crafts inspired designs. The jacquard pieces are usually woven in cotton with the addition of an occasional bit of wool or novelty yarn for texture.

mary_burns_Studio Display.HummingbirdMary also specializes in shaft-switched blockweave designs in floor and wall pieces. This style of weaving produces double-sided weavings in which the colors reverse positions, creating a positive/negative image on either side of the piece. Intricate pictorial pieces are made possible through this complex design process.

Mary has created designs based on Native American pictographs, Frank Lloyd Wright designs, traditional Celtic artwork, and Northwoods landscapes. All design work is drawn in a computer program, similar to using graph paper and colored pencils, which permits a variety of custom work options. Clients often sit in and participate in the fine tuning of their final design.

Traditional patterned twills and flat weaves in single weight rugs can also be produced on the two rug looms in a rich assortment of colors and patterns.

Rug widths up to 10' are available by any length. Larger widths can be created by sewing woven sections together.

The rugs and wall coverings are woven with wool yarns on a linen warp. The wool is top quality New Zealand rug wool, the world's finest rug wool. The New Zealand rug yarns are hand-dyed or commercially dyed to the studio's specifications. The linen warp is high quality European wet-spun linen. These materials, combined with the weaving techniques and designs of Manitowish River Studio, create heirloom quality weavings.


Manitowish River Studio is located in in the crossroads of Manitowish in northern Wisconsin, near the intersection of Hwy 51 and Hwy 47. It is 26 miles north of Woodruff, 4 miles south of Mercer.

Connect With Us

Manitowish River Studio
4245N State Highway 47
Mercer, WI 54547

Tel: 715-476-2828

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