Artist Information for Dena Dale Crain
The driving need of a trained designer to make things, and to make things better, informs my work. As I design, dye, paint or sew, I think about what I do, looking for easier, faster and better ways to make something beautiful or useful. Inevitably, the designer's favorite question "What if?" arises, and new work always comes from the answer.
I never sought to work in series until my most recent work led to a return to the basics of textiles as patchwork. In it, I revisit the inherent nature of cloth and its properties. Without prior plan, a selection of fabrics generates a tangible theme as it morphs into a work of art. Each piece reveals some hitherto hidden aspect of my experience, of my soul.
Looking back over work I made earlier, the pieces fall into collections resembling series, and some of those contain smaller groups. Each one represents time spent in pursuit of an idea. Whether involving a theme, image or construction method, my explorations have more to do with the inner mind than with physical or intellectual surroundings.
As I satisfy myself creatively, ideas arise for how new insights can help others. What I do successfully, I teach to others through articles, ebooks, lectures and classes. It is my most sincere hope that what I do, and what I teach others to do, enriches the lives of all concerned.
As a professional online quilt class teacher, I work to develop ways to design patchwork quilts that I then share with others, so their work can be more original and less dependent on my thought processes.
All my online quilt workshops are based on studies of symmetry and/or spontaneous, improvisational cutting and piecing methods. I teach classes called Structured Fabrics, Darned Quilts, Crystal Quilts, Designer Pinwheels, Reflections, Math for Quilters, Bind Quilts by Machine, and Goodbye to the Grid, taught previously at Quilt University and now from Academy of Quilting (https://www.academyofquilting.com).
In addition, I make Spirit Works quilts, surrealistic expressions of inner landscapes, all made by quilting first without prior design and while in a semi-meditative state, and hand-painted after quilting. Examples of all this work are to be seen on my site (https://www.denadalecrain.com).
Many of the art quilts I produce are made from silk, my favorite fabric, but some are from African printed or dyed cottons. All are machine pieced and machine quilted, but most beadwork is done by hand. Titles come from what the work represents to me, or perhaps from some mood I am in while working. I love making art quilt wall hangings in this manner, precisely because each one, although collectively similar in style, is unique in its expression of theme and emotive content.
Ask me which is my favorite, and I will simply smile gently and say, “All of them!”
Images scroll down to view all
Redefinitions V: Urban Africa34" x 38"
Redefinitions VIII: Desert Sands30" x 34"
Hand-dyed and commercial solid color, 100% silk fabrics, machine pieced and quilted; now part of the Del Thomas Collection
Redefinitions XI: Kenyanese Checkers28" x 28"
Chinese development in Kenya supplants American foreign aid efforts
Redefinitions VI: City Sidewalks30" x 43"
Hand-dyed, hand-stamped 100% silk fabrics
Redefinitions X: Liquid Gold28" x 31"