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Double the imagination

Hand-woven baskets, collages and themed paintings are part of MAFAC’s new exhibit

December 3, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - They may work in different art mediums, but they're good friends and are now doing an exhibit together.

The exhibit "Power of Two," featuring baskets by Janet Olney of Willmar and paintings and collages by Violet Dauk of New London, will be on display from Tuesday through Jan. 13 at the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council's arts center.

Dauk attended the School of Associated Arts in St. Paul, which is now known as Visual College of Art and Design.

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Some of Violet Dauk’s artwork includes holiday-themed collages.

"I started out in oils," Dauk said. About 15 years ago, she switched to watercolors, she said, and just a little more than a year ago, she began to dabble in acrylic collages.

"I love the color, the flow of it," Dauk said about watercolors.

Olney, who had graduated from Alma College in Michigan with a degree in philosophy and religion, started doing basket weaving back in 1984. At the time, her family was living in Nebraska and had adopted 11-year-old twins. She said her sister-in-law, who is also a basket weaver, said "I'll teach you how to do baskets."

"I immediately took to it, I just loved it," Olney said. She made her first basket on her youngest son's first birthday.

Olney teaches the art for guilds, at the Textile Center at the University of Minnesota and at art centers. She is also coordinator of the Willmar Area Arts Center.

"I love the feel of the material as I shape it into something useful and beautiful," Olney said about basket weaving in her artist statement for MAFAC. "I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I have created something wonderful out of a pile of reeds. The process is almost magical."

Except for a couple of summers with her sister-in-law, Olney said she is self-taught in basket weaving.

When she was a single mother, Olney said she supported her two youngest children working full time doing her basket weaving.

"It was a challenge to do that full time," she said.

Olney used to do 20 to 24 art fairs a year from June to October.

"I have cut way back," she said.

In her artist statement for MAFAC, Dauk said creating art has always been a healing experience for her.

"I pour my heart, soul and dreams into every piece of artwork," Dauk wrote in her artist statement. "As a young artist, it was difficult for me to get beyond the feeling that people were reading my private story in the art I created. I've now grown to enjoy comments that my work is whimsical, unique, colorful and spiritual."

Typically, Dauk works around certain themes with her art - such as coffee, florals, her children or animals. The coffee series will be part of the MAFAC exhibit, she said.

Dauk is also having her Christmas collages in the exhibit. She uses mixed media, which includes found objects, such as beads, pages from a choral book, along with newspaper backgrounds and acrylic paint.

Dauk grew up on a dairy farm and said the drawings she does of animals are not "photo-reality."

"I draw them as I see their personalities," Dauk said.

Olney said she's experimenting different forms with her weaving. She usually uses reed cut from came palm or rattan. For the basic structure of the basket, Olney uses the reed, but then mixes in other fibers, such as yarn, wools, seagrass, pine needles, wood splints and other materials.

"I have developed a technique for making tapestry baskets which involves weaving a double walled basket with the inner basket becoming the mold for the outer, tapestry basket," Olney said in her artist statement.

Olney said her baskets are mainly "sculptural."

"I do some functional baskets, but most of them are sculptural tapestries,"?she said.



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