Joanne Duby is an artist and teacher known to many of us, mainly through her classes at Camp Brotherhood and this year, the Silver Falls Symposium. She is not only a talented, consummate artist, but also a very generous and valuable instructor who never fails to impart essential tips and information to any carver. She is a resident artist at Art City Studios in Ventura, California, and works full time as a sculptor and teacher. This interview took place on the premises of Art City Studios on October 15, 2001.
SS: Tell us a little about your early beginnings as an artist, where you studied, whom you’ve worked with, and how it all began.
JD: My mother was a frustrated painter, but she did many things to keep me amused. She would get me involved in art projects to keep me busy and confine my messes. My grandfather was a big influence as well, being a wood worker who had a workshop in the basement. He was a cement finisher by trade and I remember going with him to work while he was working on the World’s Fair in Seattle when I was young. He did the finishing on all those big arches you see. He was a neat guy. So between my Mom and my grandfather, I grew up familiar with tools and knowing how to use my hands.
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Heather is an artist that can invigorate any listener with her love for sculpting and her drive to create art and she has certainly accomplished a lot since she started her journey. Heather was incredibly available and giving of her thoughts for this interview which was conducted about six months ago via numerous emails. Thank you Heather!
SS: The beginning is always a good place to start. Has art always been a part of your life?
HC: I have always loved creating things. At an early age I would sketch faces and write poetry. My father made art: sculpting, painting, building, things like that when I was a child, but he always kept it hidden under the guise of a “hobby”.
I don’t think the choice of becoming an artist happened overnight. It was more a slow unfolding with many stops and starts. Yet, there are two times that stand out as pivotal commitment moments. The first took place in Italy about three years ago. My friend, Erica, and I took advantage of an opportunity to live and make art in a small village named Pacentro in central Italy. Her uncle had an empty apartment there. It was paradise. I would paint all day and socialize all night with the locals over a scrumptious meal. Mid-way through this adventure I had a strong desire to create something with more substance than a painting. A friend suggested sculpting to me and brought me a hunk of clay. The movement and feel of three-dimensional art felt right. My hands flowed with ease during the process. Yet I wanted more and soon bumped into the local stone sculptor. Immediately thereafter he whisked me off to his studio and taught me the preliminaries to stone sculpting well into the night! Three months later it was time to return to America. I promised myself to pursue art in a more serious manner then I had previously done.
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