DeRue Johnson - Arkansas Craft Guild & Gallery
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DeRue Johnson

DeRue Johnson

I began designing and making cloth figures in 1980 at my rural Lonoke County studio and became a member of the Arkansas Craft Guild in 1985. My work has appeared in many publications, including Contemporary Doll Collecter Magazine. One of my large dragons was included in the traveling exhibit for the Year of American Craft. I have twice had work included in the Toys By Artists exhibit sponsored by the Arkansas Art Center.

I seem to have been born with a drive to create. My craft satifies my creative compulsion. After experimenting with many media, including wood, metal, glass and concrete, I realized that dollmaking was the craft I could stay with. Fabric is the most satisfactory medium for realizing my vision, because of its tactile qualities of softness, flexibility and warmth. We humans also use fabric as a “second skin” for our own bodies. I embellish many of my fabrics with hand painting. These figures have a wire armature so that they are poseable. I draft my own patterns, using an educated guess and lots of trial and error. My challenge is to transform the two dimensions of cloth into complex sculptural forms. My work is inspired by the fairy tales and mythology I read as a child and by the illustrations from the artists from the Golden Age of Childrens’ book illustrations. I also find inspiration from the flora and fauna of my garden.

Mystic Garden website

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