Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dena Crain: Artist/Teacher in Kenya

Dena will be at The Running Stitch on April 12th, to give a workshop entitled Reflections.
In 1990, Dena moved to Kenya to take a teaching position at Egerton University. Since then, Dena has spent the majority of her time at Lake Baringo, north of Nairobi, Kenya's capital, where she lives with her life partner Jonathan Leakey.
Early on in her time spent in Baringo, Dena saw an opportunity to use patchwork quilting as a way to employ local women, taught herself the basics and began a small production quilting business in her home. With advanced degrees in design, anthropology and textiles, Dena was uniquely position to share her knowledge with the local woman and to produce quilts. Over time, she began producing unique, "one-off" works of art. Since then, she has expanded her horizons further.
Dena's quilts have been featured in several solo art exhibitions. In 2004, Dena joined the faculty of Quilt University, an online educational facility for quilters. Teaching in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Good Hope Quilters Guild National Quilt Festival in July 2002 moved Dena into the ranks of international renowned quilting teachers. Dena's impressive list of credentials also includes teaching at the Chicago International Quilt market as well as at Quilt Canada, Be Creative by the Sea in Coff's Harbour,
Australia and the 15th European Patchwork Festival in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, France. Dena was part of the East African exhibit and workshops run by Cotton-by-Post as well. She co-founded the Kenya Quilt Guild, together with Canadian quilter Anne Mains, in the mid 1990s. Dena acts as the Africa regional representative for Studio Art Quilt Associates.
Dena has written magazine articles and lectured at non-quilting functions. She has quilts displayed in various public places including commissioned works in the Rockefeller Foundation in Nairobi.
Of her work, Dena says "From simultaneous design and sewing processes, my pieces seem to grow of their own accord. I do not control their development, but they dictate to me what should come next. The nature of the materials, in conjunction with an artist's passion, produces unique results. I am never so happy as when my creative spirit takes control and the work flows."
For more information about Dena or her workshop, contact The Running Stitch.
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