Durnell, 2022 Waterford Artisan of the Year, is a mixed media artist working in natural fiber, wood, repurposed antique or vintage fabrics, leather, and clay. She’s a storyteller and adventurer at heart. “If I could have Jules Verne over for dinner, I would.” She is also a collector and admirer of textiles, tools, and objects from the past and uses the carvings and collections to create the chapters of her life in imagery evocative of 17-19th century lithographs, literature, and satire. The provenance of materials often makes its way into the brief stories of each character as a way to punctuate their tales, to preserve old materials, and honor the methods for making them. Durnell uses only hand tools and prides herself on creating one-of-a-kind characters using wood she finds on her adventures, injecting a bit of humor, and promoting the old idea of “making do.” The characters look like they have lived a lot and have a story to tell. She feels her job, once they are at a show, is to connect them with the next leg of their journey.
Durnell will be doing a moderate amount of wood carving to show the method of choosing wood for her characters and the use of hand tools. She will be demonstrating clothing design and draping methods as well as the making of the tiny leather shoes. As always, the stories of the characters with the provenance of their vintage materials, are an integral part of her work. The collectors come to hear the tales!