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Mary Gates Dewey was born and raised in southern Florida. Upon high school graduation, she moved north to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she majored in painting. She first studied ceramics at the University of Alabama where her husband was teaching, and found a real affinity for the diverse applications of clay.

Mary and her family moved back to Ohio and she continued working in clay, opening a gallery and studio in Zanesville in the early 70's, and teaching ceramics and sculpture at Muskingum College in New Concord.

She was forced to make a major life change in 1980 when her teaching job was eliminated, and she was separated from her husband. She moved to Athens, in the foothills of the Appalachians, to begin her ceramics work in earnest. Athens provided an inexpensive lifestyle, and her studio and house were built in the midst of the woods, one mile from the nearest road. With no electricity or running water, she began her work. She came upon the idea for the cats purely by accident in 1982, and today it is only cats that leave the studio.

The cats continue to evolve with each passing year, and although Mary's house and studio have moved and have become what some would call more "civilized", complete with flush toilets, she still finds peace and inspiration in the woods and hills of southeast Ohio, with Kaygee by her side.

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