Deborah Dryden written by Rachel Mottin
Ever since she can remember, art has always been bursting from within Deborah Dryden. A childhood in Brantford, Ontario allowed her the first hints of satisfaction for the creative fire whenever her art teacher would enter the classroom in a frenzy of vibrant colour, poodle skirt included, to teach grade school art. Yet it was not until she gave herself permission to pursue her passion whole-heartedly that her career in the art world really took root.
After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art at the University of Guelph and her Bachelor of Education at Dalhousie University, she became the Director-Curator of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Art. It was here when her belief of the inherent creativity in everyone was cultivated through her successful development of art classes for children who were taught by local artists.
Upon returning to the Ontario area, Deborah settled in Guelph where her budding enthusiasm for the attainment of knowledge through the power of art was satisfied both universally and personally. On a public level, not only was Deborah a full time art educator continuing to make positive influences on young minds, but she also taught art workshops at universities and conferences where she made lasting impressions on her adult students. On a personal level, Deborah is continually pushing herself as an artist to explore and create in various mediums such as acrylic, printmaking, clay, watercolour, and glass mosaic.
Fittingly, this multilayered artist is currently expressing herself through the ancient art of encaustic where pigmented bees wax is layered, fused and scraped back. This echoes her artistic journey in a constant cycle of inspiration and affirmation. Deborah thrives on her challenging journey through this tactile and sensory encaustic process. She also experiments by introducing organic elements into the textural, translucent and rich-coloured wax and finds that the intuitive and reactionary nature of wax emotes the raw experience of exploring unpredictability.
In early May, Deborah’s most recent series of encaustics entitled “Fresh Start” was shown at Studio 404 in Guelph in the show Eight Dimensions which was organized by the Octarine Women Artists’ Collective of which she is a member. Her series featured images of flowers inspired by how nature’s conversations mirror human groupings and familial relationships. Still able to find awe and humour in the way a flower bends in the wind or faces other flowers along the sidewalk, Deborah’s sensitivity to the colours and forms in nature allows her to echo experiences in her own life.
Deborah is currently working on a school wide art project with Rockwood Centennial Public School. This was initiated because their community is growing with the building of a new school, L’Ecole Harris Mill P.S. All students and staff are taking part by making a leaf out of clay, taught and facilitated by Deborah. These leaves will be placed on a tree painted in both locations by artist Don Russell.
Staying true to her adventurous nature and thirst for knowledge through artistic challenges, Deborah will be taking an encaustic callograph workshop this summer in Portland, Oregon. She is also working on an upcoming show for September at Whitestone that she will share with her daughter Sarah