Artist Dana Baldwin...

Dear Friends, I would like you to meet Dana Baldwin, dress designer and artist.

Dana, your fashions are out of this world and yet I can see myself in them. How did you get started creating art you can wear?

Well, I trained professionally as a registered dietitian but didn’t like that job. So, after being hired as a clinical dietitian at a local hospital I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and walked out during orientation. That’s when I opened a shop/studio in Peoria, Illinois called The Sheared Edge and started selling my designs.

Burlap gown

How does an idea for a new style or piece come to you?

It comes from everyday experiences or from something that happened in the past.

I get my best ideas as I’m falling asleep, but they can come at any time.

Mail Order Bride Collection made of bubble wrap, plastic sheeting, packaging tape and string

Can people contact you and will you create the garment of their dreams?

I don’t create dresses with somebody in mind. I find that very difficult to do and the piece ‘loses’ something. The garments are physical ‘fairy tales’ and come from a place deep inside me, from a very real/raw space. I like to quote Heinrich Heine, the German poet who said, “Out of great sorrow, I make my little songs.” That’s what my creations are – little ‘songs’.

I am sure my readers would like to know what is your favorite thing to wear when you are working, and when you are going out to shine? We picture you decked up all the time. Is there a cozy garment you return to time and again?

When I’m working I usually wear an old pair of jeans and a T shirt. I buy several jeans and black T shirts (all the same), so it looks like I wear the same outfit every day, but I don’t. I prefer using my creativity to make the big dresses and not on thinking about what I’m going to wear each day when I work. When I go out my favorite outfit to wear is a repurposed red dress that I made out of interesting old thrift store finds. That paired with a black velvet hat usually.

How is it you managed to turn needle and thread into such magic?

That is a gift from God. I don’t know how I do it.

Have you always sewn and created things to wear?

Yes, I would say so. I started with knitting when I was 12 and made scarves for everyone in the family and extended family. I think I made 20 scarves for Christmas gifts that year!

Who inspires you in the fashion business living or long gone? And who inspires you every day?

I’m inspired by Alexander McQueen and Oscar de la Renta. I’m also inspired by what I saw at the Prado and the flamenco dresses, silk embroidered shawls and tapestries I saw when I lived in Spain.

Where can my readers find your items or connect with you? What is the best way for them to find you?