Fiber artist Dana Baldwin was born in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana. Her artistic process began as a child when she observed and studied textile masterpieces while living and traveling in Europe. The daughter of a military doctor father and an artist mother, Baldwin received a B.A. from Bradley University and a master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, then interned at the prestigious Mayo Clinic (Rochester Methodist Hospital) as a clinical nutritionist.
As an award-winning fiber artist, Baldwin has been heavily influenced by the colors, textures and patterns of Spain, Portugal and northern Africa. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with shows at the Art Gallery of Vogue Knitting LIVE (New York City), the Woman Made Gallery (Chicago), the East Gippsland Art Gallery (Victoria, Australia), among other exhibits and venues.
Baldwin’s one-of-a-kind fabric and fiber creations have garnered numerous awards. She received the “Viewer’s Choice Award” at the Mancuso Mid-Atlantic XX Quilt and Wearable Art Festival in Hampton, Virginia. Judge Cindy Brick called her work, “A real show stopper! Unique. We were impressed by (the) gown’s overall impact and use of humble materials for a more sophisticated effect.” The Bay School Rustic Art Show awarded one of Baldwin’s pieces “Best in Show,” with judge Ken Winebrenner saying, “For most outrageous ‘rustication’ by definition, with grace of form over dubious function, irony over practicality. Rusticity toward art.” Her work has also received honors from the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival and the National ArtPop Billboard Contest, and is currently featured at Methodist College.
Ms. Baldwin recently completed an artist’s residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria. She was also recognized with a special Mayoral Proclamation, both for her impressive artistic achievements and for her contributions to promoting small businesses along Peoria’s Main Street corridor, where she runs a studio and popular shop called The Sheared Edge.
As a fiber artist, my creations are emotional expressions utilizing unconventional materials that are readily available. I look at fiber and envision a unique concept of color and design which expresses freedom and beauty.
Imperfection or irony provides the springboard for most of my creations. For example, “Haute Couture Rustic” is an 18th Century French Royal Court Dress created out of burlap and cotton sheets with unrefined stitching. “Mademoiselle Fashion Ignite” is a gown knitted out of iridescent curling ribbon used to wrap gifts. The use of unconventional materials is exciting. The one-of-a-kind sweater coats allow me to dismantle traditional sweaters and reconstruct unique creations.
My work constantly changes but one fact remains. It always straddles the dividing line between adornment and sculpture.