This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2013)
Mary Azarian (born 1940) is an American woodcut artist and children's book illustrator. She won the 1999 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. It tells about the life of Wilson Bentley. She lives in Calais, Vermont. She produces original prints and has illustrated over 50 books.
Azarian grew up on her grandfather's farm on the outskirts of Washington, DC. Her grandfather's farm had thousands of chicken along with geese that would bother the customers that came to buy his eggs. Azarian's uncle grew vegetables. Being around her family gardens is what sparked her high interest in it. When she was young, she would spend her time exploring the woods and fields with her pony named Pasty.
She began drawing and painting at an early age. In 4th grade, she did her first relief print of woodcuts and enjoyed it very much. This piece of art was a 3" x 4" lino block of an angel with the name NOEL at the bottom. She ran into a problem and learned a valuable lesson from this project; words must be reversed when doing a woodcut. Her finished product read LEON.
After she graduated from Smith College, she moved to farm in Vermont. Azarian and her husband farmed horses, oxen, chickens, a jersey milk cow, a sheep, and a goat. Azarian and her husband made their three sons help them with their gardens.
Before beginning her career as a full-time artist, Azarian taught in a one-room schoolhouse for three years. After she finished her three years of teaching, she decided she wanted to make a living selling woodcut prints. She began producing her prints by hand and in black and white. Eventually, she began adding color to her prints by hand. Finally, she found an old Vandercook proof press and began using it to produce the prints.
Beginning in the 1970s, Azarian begun illustrating children's books. In 1999, the American Library Association awarded Azarian the Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in the children's book, Snowflake Bentley.
Mary Azarian is married to her husband Tom and together they have three sons. She also has 4 grandkids, (Aliza is the best one btw )