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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

DKG Art Gallery Artist Spotlight

Dana Murphy, Oregon State Organization

1. Tell us about yourself as an educator and artist.

I grew up immersed in a family business of retail florists who “made things”, so arranging flowers, planning window displays, and decorating for elaborate gala events were all introduced to me at an early age. Through Girl Scout Camps and decorating for high school proms, I continued to build on my creative skills and interests. I earned a BA in Art, with an emphasis in Textile Design, from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. And a MA in Education from Portland State University in Oregon.      

2. What plays an important part in your artistic process?

I experiment with many versatile materials, and they often have some “thoughts” of their own. By designing each piece individually and taking time to step back and evaluate my options, I usually end up with something that I think is worthy. Often, it is my mishaps or mistakes that leads to new learning and possibilities.

3. What is your preferred medium and why?

The majority of my work includes textiles. I weave, spin, felt, sew, dye, paint and embellish with a wide variety of materials. Often, it is the under-utilized materials that spark my interest. Along with decaying sticks, leaves and dried pods from nature, I seek to use natural fibers with a few glittery accents. Unwanted materials such as stripped ivy vines or the trimmings of grape vines make great organic, roughly-styled baskets.

4. Tell us about your selected piece of artwork.

Nature Walk” was made as a sample for a project that I was introducing to children. It started with some twigs that were latched together to make a small loom frame. It was then warped (the foundational threads) to hold the weft (think “over and under” filler threads). It includes found objects from a walk in my back yard where I collected moss, twigs and dried seed pods. Then I used wool and cotton yarns, adding twisted wires, beads, and metallic threads for accents.

When I work with children (and adults), I strive to teach them something new, something they haven’t tried before. I encourage them to experiment and understand that there is no right or wrong way to create their piece. The choices are theirs.

5. What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

When I was graduating from high school in California, I thought I wanted to be a textile pattern designer. Several advisors suggested that I needed to pursue those opportunities in New York. I listened to their advice but realized that wasn’t a realistic option for me. Consequently, I decided to stay in the Pacific NW to pursue a liberal arts education. I have never regretted that decision!

6. What does the value of Art in Education mean to you?

I believe the Arts in Education helps to inspire and motivate many students to enjoy learning. The arts also teach children that there are several paths to take when approaching problems and that all problems can have more than one solution, in turn supporting their creative and critical thinking skills that are so highly valued. Creating art is a natural human behavior! It is an instinctual form of healing, communicating, and making connections with the human race.

7. Is there one more thing you’d like us to know?

This was the first time that I have submitted art work to the DKG Gallery. It was an intentional learning experiment for me. I would encourage everyone to participate. This has been fun. I thank the Arts and Humanities Jury for their support and attention to this program.

Pictured here is second weaving accepted to the Fine Arts Gallery, Starlight 2.

Dana Murphy


The Arts & Humanities Jury looks forward to you returning often to view exciting new content and to share in the joy of creativity.   

We invite you to view the Art Gallery, click here. 

Keep the conversation going, please use the comment section below to suggest new topics, ask questions, or give us your input.



  1. Thank you, Dana! I am very interested in your description of how you made "Nature Walk" and "Starlight 2". They are so inviting to look at, and conceptually thought provoking.

  2. Excellent job Dana! Your "Nature Walk" is lovely! It is so interesting to learn of one's connection to creating art. Your story is fascinating. Keep up the great work.


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