Who Is Jane Dunnewold?
Jane Dunnewold teaches and lectures internationally, and has mounted numerous one person exhibitions, including Inspired by the Masters (Visions Quilt Museum 2016). Her work won Best of Show in the exhibition Timeless Meditations (Tubac Art Center/2013). and she is a recipient of the Quilt Japan Prize , and Gold Prize at the Taegu (Korea) International Textile Exhibition.
Wait, there’s more…
Dunnewold has also authored numerous books, the most recent, Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius. Others include the classic, Complex Cloth (1996) and Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design on Fabric (2010.) In addition, she is the former President of the Surface Design Association.
Wow. Needless to say we’re thrilled about her upcoming show ‘New Works and Mixed Media’ at Mockingbird Handprints.
With such an interesting resume, we couldn’t resist getting to know Jane better before next month’s show. Find out more about her background and work in this heartfelt interview. Show details are also below.
Q: What came first actual authoring or art creation?
JD: What came first was my application to be an artist in residence at the Southwest school back when it was still the SW. Craft Center. The head of the weaving department, Kay Maxham was a strong, centered woman who developed the department single-handedly and hired me. I say that tongue-in-cheek because there was no pay. Kay selected me to help with the out-of-town workshops, with major textile artists of the time so I got my start by assisting established artists. I was inspired by the many serious artists who came through the program at the SW. Craft Center and were so giving of their knowledge & expertise and the kindness toward us, we who were the helpers.
Q: Where does your passion for creativity come from and why the desire to encourage it in others?
JD: Creativity comes from a deep well within me. When other things were not going well – bankruptcy and divorce – being creative helped me stay the course which was very difficult sometimes. The former chair of the ceramic studio at the Southwest school whose name is Dennis Smith said to me 20 years ago “My materials are the only thing I can trust. They are what I come back to over and over again.”
That’s when I realized as an artist it’s true. Our materials are the heart of our practice. That’s why I decided I preferred to be a teacher. I could be in complete control of my materials if I didn’t rely on a gallery for sales. I was called to be a teacher. That protected the integrity of my materials and my process.
Q: What has been the most challenging project you’ve taken on to date?
JD: I don’t know what the most challenging project has been frankly. Working at the Southwest school was very challenging. While I was there it was a tumultuous troubling time because we thought we were going to lose the school but it all worked out and of course is a success story now.
Since then, of course, there are concerns about career, because as a freelancer it can go up and down. I had a child to care for and responsibilities to meet but in general I’ve always felt confident about my ability to meet my responsibilities but also to share that fresh wellspring of ideas that I’m blessed to experience. So writing books and aspiring to be a really good teacher has been a challenge.
As far as my own studio work is concerned, the themes I pursue are always the same themes. I pursue themes of finding one’s self, giving to the world, being bigger than who you are, and working with my mantra which is the following:
Stay in present time.
Seek only the truth.
Surrender your will to God.
Love is the only real power.
Honor thy self.
Honor one another.
All is one.
The real life experience that inspires me is to have been in situations where people around me really really wanted to find their authentic self. And we were all fearful, but once we talked about it it was so evident that this is something we can all find if we are only willing to be real with each other. So I want to make art that is authentically me and art that addresses that authenticity in others.
Q: What does the future hold for you?
JD: All I can say is that I’m guided by my mantra. I stay in present time. I seek only the truth. I surrender myself to God, whatever that means, and frankly, I’m not sure. But I do know love is the only true power. I know I need to honor myself and then I need to honor others. And then I need to recognize that while it may not feel that way, especially in the current day and age, all is one.
I continue to work with all of these basic ideas in mind. As long as I have studio time to pursue my ideas, and workshops to teach where I can interact with other serious artists and students, life is rich.
Jane Dunnewold @ Mockingbird Handprints: “New Works and Mixed Media”
Opening Reception: July 5th 6-8 pm
Show on view July 6- August 27th