Artist Profile: Deborah Dutton

With each new fiber artist profile, my dream for each of you who will attend Fiber College is to be able to meet and chat with every fiber artist teacher there. These are indeed some amazing people and Deborah Dutton is no exception! Her fiber of choice is paper, her studio is enticing and inviting, and her colors are fabulous. We are thrilled to have Deborah joining us from Texas (will she win the award this year for traveling the farthest?). Her all-day Sunday class is A Modern Adaptation of an Ancient Chinese Threadbook and her samples are stunning. Let’s meet Deborah.

Deborah Dutton, fiber artist

Deborah Dutton, fiber artist

Hi! I’m Deborah Dutton and even as a child I remember having a studio space in the basement of my suburban Chicago home.  My mom let me have free reign to create whatever my young mind could come up with.  I remember lots of papier mache, balsa wood, paint, glue, and cardboard.  That was my happy place then. Now my studio is a separate space on my property in Katy, Texas but remains my happy place.  I’m free to create and make a mess every day – it’s like oxygen to me.

Deborah's studio is her happy place!

Deborah’s studio is her happy place!

Deborah designs and creates with books and paper.

Deborah designs and creates with books and paper.

As a college student I studied design and came to understand the language of the art I created.  I don’t consider myself a pure artist, but a designer.  I have a graphic design degree and had a business in the Houston Heights creating custom invitations, collage art, and commercial imprintable invitations that sold throughout the country.

Dutton_Decorated CB

Paper folding and personalized designs

Since retiring from that business I’ve been to India three times to work with girls rescued from trafficking and also spent time at Mother Teresa’s homes for the destitute and dying in Kolkata.  I brought projects for the girls living in a safehouse and learned much about how to live and create with very little.  They have no electricity and spend almost all their time outdoors – not in a beautiful, woodland setting, but on the hard-packed dirt, in the blazing heat and humidity.  I learned that glue never dries during monsoon season and that Indian girls LOVE bright colors in everything.  They are also very bright and gifted with their hands.  I brought lots of origami paper (my own design) and they went nuts.  For every folded piece I showed them, they showed me 3 more – even taking leaves from the trees and folding leaves.  Art really is a universal language and I love to speak it.

Dutton_Open CB

Paper is Deborah’s fiber of choice.

Paper has always been my fiber of choice.  I love the tactile quality and discovering what I can do with it.  I cut paper, fold paper, draw, paint and emboss paper.  I’ve even made paper.  I love to alter books and make/bind books.  My class at 2015 Fiber Arts College is a modern version of an ancient Chinese Thread Book.  It is a pamphlet style book that opens up and 13 boxes can be unfolded inside.  I saw this concept and I just had to make it.  It took a while to track down and then interpret directions and that’s just part of the reason I’m excited to bring this class to you.  It’s an unusual and totally cool book.  You’ll find lots of little things to put in all the boxes.  Chinese girls stored their threads, needles, and embroidery pieces in this portable folder/book.  I have one for stamps (forever stamps, pretty stamps. theme stamps, unusual stamps) and another for ephemera (postcards, tags, ribbons, vintage paper items, stamps, stickers).

In Deborah's Sunday class, students will create beautiful threadbooks based in a Chinese tradition.

In Deborah’s Sunday class, students will create beautiful threadbooks based in a Chinese tradition.

Advise taken and given:  Be free! I let go of fear and striving for perfection some time ago.  Perfection can never be achieved and every flaw is beautiful.  This is true.

One thought on “Artist Profile: Deborah Dutton

  1. Absolutely love your paper creations. I wish I could do your Sunday class but am already signed up for another one. I too, do a lot with paper folding/books/and altered books.

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