Since she was a child, Dorrie Casey was all about theater – writing, performing, designing, and making music. Then, quite by chance, a new art form grabbed hold of her and even kept her up at night.
“It was as though something inside me had been sleeping a deep sleep and it suddenly woke up,” she said. “This art form totally found me.”
It began with the simple, spontaneous act of purchasing a rubber stamp kit and a set of colored pencils three years ago while in the mountains of Maine. This led to experimenting with old frames and feathers she lifted from her husband Archie’s fly-tying supplies.
Soon after, remnants of cowhide, bits of fur, mica, bark and other natural materials began to appear in her work.
“And then there was that pile of rusty metal – from one of those dumps in the woods you see near old home sites,” said Dorrie. “Rust is so lovely. As are tree fungi, drift wood, old nails, bones and shells…”
“My family and friends need to nail stuff down or it’ll end up in a piece of mine!”
She sees beauty everywhere. “My husband Archie and I will be walking along and I’ll see stuff floating on a puddle and exclaim, ‘Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve every seen!’ You can just imagine the eye-rolling, right?”
“I am completely untrained in visual art,” Dorrie shared.
“A sense of fearlessness seems to go hand in hand with that. Don’t think. Just do.”
Special gallery showing:
Dorrie’s most recent work will be on view at the exhibition, Shamanic Journeys, in downtown Pittsboro on Thursday, May 4 from 4-7 pm. Begin the event with wine, cheese and conversation at the historic Cabin at Hobbs Architecture, located at 159 West Salisbury Street. Then stroll over to the Chatham Arts Council at 118 West Street for the show. An RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org is appreciated.
The show will also be on view Mondays and Thursdays from 12-2 pm through June 4. Or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
“There are about 35 pieces that span two years, so there is quite a variety,” Dorrie said. “Works in feathers and birch bark. Some hanging, some free-standing. Colorful pieces using scrap leather. I have made some ceremonial pieces using enormous tree fungi, feathers and wooden bowls. One of the bowls came from the cellar of a Revolutionary War-era house in my husband’s family.
Giving art to support art for children:
Dorrie is donating all proceeds from the exhibit to the Chatham Arts Council. “I was lucky in my tiny Maine town to have devoted drama and music teachers. Without these things, my life would not have made any sense to me at all,” she said.
“That the Chatham Arts Council provides art to students who might otherwise not experience it at all made me want to give art, to support art.”
“Since the Arts Council gets the proceeds, I hope everything sells – to give the non-profit a budgetary boost and to continue their fine work out in our community,” said Dorrie.
“I also hope some Chatham kids will see it and understand that art is for everyone, trained or untrained.”
From the Artist
Name: Dorrie Casey
I live: so far north in Chatham, we sometimes call it faux Chathám! But it’s not!!! It’s lovely Chatham!
My childhood in a nutshell: I grew up in Mexico, Maine, the fourth of six kids. My grandfather lived with us too so we were nine people in 900 square feet. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me this long to turn to visual art. Hardly room for a box of crayons in our house!
I moved here: in 1975. Married a Raleigh boy (University of North Carolina student) when I was 20. Never left! Still living in our first house!!
I create art because: I can’t seem to stop.
As I child I got into trouble for: not paying attention to details. You know, things like school announcements and rehearsal schedules. Never doing my homework.
Some jobs I’ve had are: Graveyard shift short-order cook; singer; teacher of creative writing (UNC, Elon, Duke Continuing Education); transcriptionist – a really cool job where one learns about all kinds of fascinating things. I have excellent ears and can type really fast!
Some small things that make my day better are: tea (people from Maine drink gallons of tea). Meditating. Hanging out with Archie. Wonderful friends. Beautiful garden.
One of the craziest things I have ever done is: stowing away on the Prince of Fundy (ferry between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia).
Most people don’t know I can: sing in a perfect accent in five languages (oh, those ears!).
In the next ten years, I’m looking forward to: always being open to what’s next and going for it, without thought or censure. Knowing what I know and not worrying about why or how I know it.
Click on a photo to enlarge