Art focus: Sculpting emotions


Memories - Credit: Archant

When a serious illness turned Dawn Dominic’s life upside down, she used it as an opportunity to rediscover her passion for art. Caroline Foster reports

Clematis (fused glass, wire, wood)

Clematis (fused glass, wire, wood) - Credit: Archant

Mixed media artist Dawn Dominic has lived in Hertfordshire for more than 20 years, but it is only quite recently that she has made the very best of what the county has to offer after her career in IT process improvement came to a sudden end due to a diagnosis of skin cancer.

Dawn (below), who lives in the village of Ickleford near Hitchin, returned to her love of art, making use of the county’s strong creative presence. Going back to study, she earned a distinction for her BTEC Diploma in Art and Design at Hitchin College for the Arts, and studied life-model sculpture with Paul Bainbridge and glass art with Ewa Wawrzyniak, both via short courses at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. She is also an active member on the county’s art show scene with the Art Platform Collective and the Hertfordshire Visual Arts Sculpture Group, shows her work at county exhibitions and carries out demonstrations of her art at events across Herts and beyond.

Three-dimensional forms created using a variety of objects, materials and processes are the focus of her work, inspired by the female body as well as emotions.

Some of her work she describes as semi-biographical: ‘I see art as a vehicle to communication. When things are difficult to verbalise I use art as a way of finding my voice. It’s a type of therapy and an opportunity to explore emotions.’

Mother and child

Mother and child - Credit: Archant

Using a combination of skills, including welding, Dominic fuses a variety of recycled objects, found natural objects and man-made items.

Her varied collections include breeze block sculptures, glass infused with wire and colour, stoneware, stone carvings, cast plaster figures and many combinations of each. Some of Dominic’s work is created from a single material type, and some encompasses ‘a little bit of everything’.

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Dominic says she enjoys the simplicity of elements such as a breeze block because its composition lends itself to a less intricate and more symbolic style.

In contrast, her glass pieces infused with metalwork are detailed and intricate.

The artist says she loves to make large objects, but transportation of such pieces has proved troublesome, ‘Not to mention the difficulties with storage and space when trying to work on larger scale pieces,’ she explains.

However, she appears to take most things in her stride, and this is evident in the nature of her work, which she is eager to share.

As an enthusiastic member of Hertfordshire Visual Arts, she is a participant in the group’s annual Open Studios event – happy to throw open her studio doors to the public, and in doing so has enjoyed a number of commissions. Because of space restrictions, this year she will be exhibiting during the September event as part of the Arts Platform Collective in a combined area at PS Arts at Mardlebury Arts Gallery in Datchworth.

As a keen demonstrator, Dominic will also be in the HVA tent at Living Crafts’ four-day event at Hatfield House this month, at Rhythms of the World music and arts festival at Hitchin Priory in June, as well as running courses in carving aerated block for small groups throughout the summer.

While she is happy sharing her skills and her work, her ultimate dream is to host a solo exhibition – ‘but I have a little more work to do before that can happen!’

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