About the Artists

Allen and Mary Dee Dodge met while attending the Kansas City Art Institute. Their first collaboration was on a large fabric environment installation in a downtown Kansas City gallery. This began their long time relationship of art and love and their dedication to the idea of making a living from their art.

Graduating from the fiber arts department, Mary Dee with a background in ceramics and Allen with a background in painting and sculpture, they soon moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Expo 74 in Spokane, Washington was in the building stages and they created several commissions for the site. Following that, they became a part of the restoration team working on the historic Cataldo Mission in northern Idaho, dyeing fabrics, recreating wallpapers, tinwork and other reliquaries. During this period, they had a solo show of their soft sculptures at the Second City Gallery in Spokane and a solo show at the Civic Theater of Spokane.


Continuing to pursue their livelihood as artists, Allen concentrated his efforts at cartooning and was published in various national magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, The Saturday Review and Writers Digest. He took a job doing layout and artwork for The Nickel's Worth in Coeur d'Alene, where he created a weekly cartoon strip, which he continues today. Mary Dee returned for several years to making functional pottery. She sold her work from her studio and exhibited at regional art fairs. In 1984 she was the featured artist at Private Stock Gallery in Kansas City.

Allen and Mary Dee have conducted numerous workshops over the years.

  • Children's art classes in their studio
  • Establishing and teaching the art program at the Coeur d'Alene Montessori School
  • Spokane Art School
  • ISD 101, experimental arts program throughout eastern Washington rural schools
  • Drawing and pottery at the Lakeside Gallery in Coeur d'Alene
  • Fabric workshops, Lakes Middle School, Coeur d'Alene
  • Silk Screen and fabric decoration workshops in their studio
  • In 1985, the couple returned to the business of fabric decoration, starting a screen printing company in Coeur d'Alene called Local Color, doing custom screen printing and graphic design, marketing a line of highly decorated shirts and fabric pieces, later evolving into a line of hand dyed and printed ladies dresses, "Mary Dee Fun to Wear," which Mary Dee designed. Both were sold nationally through a group of sales representatives and catalogues, including National Wildlife, Serengeti, Coldwater Creek, Whale Gifts, Signals, Wireless, and others.

    In 2005, they sold Local Color to return to studio work, collaborating on brightly painted whimsical wood sculpture. Allen does the woodcarving and Mary Dee paints the pieces. They describe the process as being full of mystery and surprise, as Allen delivers the raw artwork to Mary Dee, who doesn't know what she may be getting, and who then designs and paints the surface, without Allen knowing what she might do. In addition to creating commissioned pieces, they have exhibited their new work at the Art Spirit Gallery and at Art on the Green in Coeur d'Alene, as well as the Tin Man Gallery in Spokane, WA and the Jacklin Cultural Center in Post Falls, Idaho.

    Allen and Mary Dee in the Garden