Erika Ann McIlnay is an artist currently working from Dallas, Texas. Even though she is living and working in Texas her heart is still in the place she was born and raised; Illinois. She lived most of her life living on a farm with her mother Katherine McIlnay, father Dale McIlnay, and her little brother Dale McIlnay Jr. It was living and working on the farm where her material interests and her construction techniques began. She was introduced to carpentry as a young child through her father Dale, she has fond memories climbing on roofs handing shingles and nails to her father. There was never a dull moment where something wasn't being repaired or built. The farm was filled with the construction materials she would one day use in her work. Her mother was also a strong influence. Being a strong woman who worked multiple jobs to keep the family a float has had an everlasting effect on Erika's work ethic and approach to making work. Family is highly important to her and is always at the forefront of her creative "self." She was once told her work was like poetry, every piece was a verse. It has been her goal to bring that internal poem to visual light.