Dona Dalton


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Meet the Artist

Headshot of Dona Dalton
  • About This Artist

    40 years ago, I began as a toymaker. Gradually, animal imagery developed into carved, painterly narratives, often incorporating a bit of mythology. I still keep an idea of toy in many pieces, to remind of playfulness and being open-hearted. I studied sculpture at Philadelphia College of Art, have done so many craft shows, show in galleries, done commissions for the Mayo Clinic, and currently have a presence at

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I primarily use poplar and pine, and cedar for the larger works. Most of the basic carving is done on the band saw, and is further shaped on a belt sander. Smaller areas and figures are done with rotary carving tools, finished with a lot of hand sanding. Base coats are latex enamel house paint, with layers of rubbed paint, or washes of more translucent acrylics and metallics. Occasionally, I use metallic leaf.

    A: I like that there's not much technology needed for the direct shaping and coloring I do. I simply love what wood can become in a fairly short time.

    A: I will get on a tangent at times, when a theme interests me. For awhile it was birds, more recently foxes, and whatever city wildlife shows up. I never expected that I'd include so much literal Egyptian mythology in the work, several years ago. I guess one could say it's strange to have so many of my pieces on wheels, but it so natural to me to have them move around.

    A: Oddly enough, it might be something I hear, or read, or song lyrics that might provoke an idea. I always have music in my ears as I work on the machines, and it might be more of the life energy in those creative efforts that makes me feel like doing the same. Specifically in 1995, in London, at the Mechanical Cabaret Theater ( a small museum of automata), I saw the work of Paul Spooner, who used the man figure of Anubis in fantastic social commentary. My Egyptian curiosity began!

    A: Many years of doing craft shows has produced such a feeling bond of kinship. We all know what efforts it takes, highs and lows, to make the work as an individual, and we all honor that. Being together at a show, and creating our presence there from an empty space is another amazing connection. I have never experienced a more helping and understanding community of people, who generally seem to take that willingness to others who are open to that. AND the public that supports us is a blessing!

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