Ahrens is a professional paper artist who combines eastern and western papermaking methods with industrial materials to create books, sculptures and assemblages. As a deaf artist, she believes she has a stronger awareness of her surroundings, which allows her art to create inner-worlds and transform hidden spaces that people often overlook. Most of her work is based in a stylized view of nature as she reproduces the many textures and visual planes of Iowa’s rural landscape. Ahrens earned her Master of Fine Arts in design from the University of Iowa. She is a Yamagata Fellow at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and presented work in the Winter Wonderland at the White House exhibition. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.