Sondra Dorn is a studio artist living in Weaverville, North Carolina. She received her MFA from the University of Washington in 1996. Following graduate school, Dorn went on to a one year Artist-in-Residency at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and then a three-year Artist-in-Residency at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina. She was also a CORE fellowship student at Penland between the years 1992 through 1994.

Dorn shows her work in numerous galleries, juried and invitational exhibitions and has taught workshops at Penland School of Crafts and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

Artist Statement

I always search the world for pattern, color and composition. Different perspectives – the view from airplane or through a microscope –reveal abstract patterns that are the basis for my visual vocabulary. Technology (airplanes, microscopes, computer-aided design) enables these different views, allowing me to apprehend hidden details, and to shift back and forth between different aspects, the micro and the macro.

The materials that I use to create brings my work back to a human personal scale. Through many marks and layers; I build my landscapes by hand using processes that are slow and intimate. I engage with the forms I’ve discovered in the world around me, dissolving and reconstituting them with papers, fabric, thread, paints, pencils and acrylic mediums. I experience these re-imagined landscapes as close-up details and distant topographies simultaneously. I hope that my work invites you to take the time to enjoy these shifting spaces and perspectives.

Creative Process

Step 1
The Beginning

My work begins with noticing particular images, compositions, colors and ‘accidental arrangements’ discovered in the spaces and objects around me.

Step 2
Clarifying My Vision

Once an arrangement is chosen, I capture it with a photograph that becomes my starting point. This image is modified and abstracted – enhancing the feeling of the space or object.

Step 3
Using My Own Two hands

Using a combination or drawing and digital printing, I begin to develop the image on a variety of 100% cotton rag papers, handmade rice papers and sometimes even linen fabric. The piece is then mounted on a birch panel, creating a rigid textured surface to work on.

Step 4
Letting the Creativity Flow

I layer, draw and collage, modifying the surfaces of each layer with paint, inks, colored pencils, charcoal and graphite – building marks, pattern and imagery as I go. Bits of sketches and drawings on paper and fabric might be added and incorporated into the composition. Sanding back onto the surface both reveals and obscures the underlying layers and often, entire areas become partially concealed by the following layer.

Step 5
Enjoying and Loving the Work as it Evolves

Although I have a sense of the direction of a piece before I begin, usually it takes on a life of its own and the conversation directs the piece. Unencumbered by my physical body, my eyes and mind are freed to fly, float and dance through the spaces I create. It is this interaction with the small world I am creating along with the physical act of layering, marking, shifting concealing and revealing that I love and is the reason I create my work.