Tom and Mary Blakley

The Creation of Mary Blakley Ceramics
MMA  Mary Margaret at about the age of 10, in Fort Wayne, Indiana School  Mary Margaret (1914-2004), is in the middle of the front row in this photograph, probably of her graduating class (9th grade) of her grade school in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Her father was the principal of the school. Sardinia  Mary Margaret's father's family was from Sardinia, in Decatur County, Indiana.  This picture was taken on the farm of her father's cousin, Harry, and his wife, Erma.  The boy in the front is her brother, John, the girl in the middle is Opal Frances, Harry and Erma's daughter, and Mary is in the back.  The boy on the horse is unidentified. Strawberries  Mary Margaret's father had a big garden at his house in Fort Wayne.  At the time he bought it, in 1919, it was way out in the country.  Here, Mary is holding a plate of freshly-picked strawberries.
Tom High School  Tom Blakley graduated from North Side High School in Fort Wayne and graduated in 1928.  This is his graduation photograph. MMA - High School  Mary Margaret graduated from South Side High School in Fort Wayne in 1930, at the age of 16 1/2.  Here, she is in her cap and gown. Sweet Sixteen MMB  This photograph was taken by John, Mary's brother and a professional photographer, in Miami in September, 1945.
Tom and Mary - 1945  Photograph taken in Miami in September, 1945. Funny Business  Funny Business is a collection of cartoons that were published in the Saturday Evening Post.  Here, Tom is admiring the cartoons by him that were published in the magazine.  The book is in the collection of the Billy Ireland Arts and Skills Corps  Tom was not eligible for the draft during WWII, likely because he was the sole source of support for his wife.  Here, as a volunteer for the Arts & Skills Corps, run by the American Red Cross, he and Mary are showing T/Sgt. Charles H. Rogers the fine points of cartooning at a hospital in Miami Beach. The Arts & Skills Corps was established in 1944 to help returning veterans cope with what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder. Marathon Yacht Basin  Tom & Mary enjoyed fishing in the Florida Keys and on the west coast of Florida.  Here, they are showing off their catch of the day at the Marathon Yacht Basin in the Keys.  Front row, left to right:  Tom Blakley, fishing guide, fishing guide and Mary's brother John.  Back row, left to right: Mary Blakley and Monica, John's wife.
MMB Fishing  Mary, fishing rod in hand, in an outboard powered skiff. Bitte House - Front  The Blakleys left Miami in 1949, when Mary became pregnant with her second son, probably due to space considerations.  They rented this house, owned at one time by Ernst Bitte, which was located just north of Bauer Drive and east of Krome Avenue, north of Homestead. Bitte House - Side  Another view of the Bitte house. 1951  This is a picture of the house they bought on East Palm Drive, east of Florida City, in May, 1950.  It was taken in 1951 from the intersection of Tennessee Road and Palm Drive.  Note the presence of shutters on the window openings - there were no windows at this time.
January 1951 - Back  A photograph of the back of the house, taken in January, 1951. May - 1951 - Front  This photograph was taken in May, 1951 and you can see that some of the shutters have been removed as windows were installed.  The portion of the house at the right side was built by Tom for his studio.  The original house was just 4 rooms: a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. January 1952  Another shot of the house from Palm Drive.  Note the 1938 Plymouth sedan at the left side of the picture - this photograph was taken in January, 1952. Plymouth  A better shot of the 1938 Plymouth sedan.
January 1952 - Back  By January, 1952, all of the windows had been installed.  The barrel held water, pumped with a pitcher pump attached to a shallow driven well, for washing clothes. January 1952 - Front  This photograph shows all of the windows installed - it was taken from Palm Drive by Mary.  Note the Dalmation dog in the road - not much traffic on Palm Drive in those days!  Tom is bending over, perhaps planting something. Tom and MMB  Tom and Mary Blakley in the back of the house.  Tom was keenly interested in Native American culture and I'm sure the dress that Mary is wearing is a genuine Seminole Indian garment acquired, no doubt, from a roadside store on the Tamiami Trail. Kids in Wheelbarrow  How many kids get to be in a wheelbarrow for their family portrait?  This is another example of Tom's puckish humor.
Front porch  Mary Margaret working in her studio on the front porch of the house in 1961.  This photograph was taken for an article that she wrote for Ceramics Monthly, entitled "Variations on a Theme", which appeared in the October, 1962 issue.   This particular photograph was not included in the article, but others were. Tom - 1960 House - Back  The rear of the house as it appeared in January, 1962. House - Front  A photograph of the front of the house in December, 1961.
Winter Park mural  This 10' x 30' mural graces the front entrance of the Presbyterian Retirement Home in Winter Park, Florida.  Each panel illustrates a verse of Ecclesiastes 3:2.  The mural was installed in September, 1965. Studio - 1968  Paul, Mary's brother, and Mary in the shop in January, 1968. In the Shop  Tom at work, creating an owl, in the shop in 1971. Victorian house  Mary Margaret showing one of her acrylic and paper Victorian House creations.  This was taken outside the shop in 1971.
Tom - 1977  Photo taken March, 1977 Mary Margaret  April, 1978 Tom - 1980  March, 1980 Tom and Mary  Photo taken in June, 1984.
Shop  The studio as it appeared in October, 1985. Horace and Mary  Mary M. Blakley and her brother, Horace, in December, 1985.