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Meet the Artist


My parents named me Delayne. I had no idea where the name originated or even what it meant until just recently when I happened across it in a Baby Name Book – in the boys section. “Descendant of the Conqueror.” Sounds like something my Viking ancestors would’ve appreciated.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Mom tells me it was a lot longer. I spent many happy hours of my Minnesota childhood in the company of fat yellow school pencils, Big Chief tablets, Academie sketchpads, and books filled with marvelously detailed illustrations by artists such as Howard Pyle, Wesley Dennis, Beatrix Potter, and Florence and Margaret Hoopes (watercolorists extraordinaire of the Alice and Jerry Books). A sketchbook was my constant companion and I filled it with drawings of galloping horses and fairy waifs, feeble copies of the work I saw in the books around me.

School was stressful. To compensate, I drew on everything (including textbooks, desktops, homework), read with a passion, escaped into music, and threw myself into any art class offered. By my report cards I gather I did as well as can be expected under the circumstances, since my body was in attendance and my head was most definitely elsewhere…. After graduation I married and suppressed my creativity while I tried hard to be a responsible adult, and I thank heaven that my daughters changed all that when they made their arrivals. The three of us spent many happy moments watching clouds, building forts, digging for buried treasure, discovering teensy little letters from the fairies, planting magick jelly beans (they grew!), and fostering assorted wildlife. Once we even discovered Santa’s muddy boot prints ground into the beige carpeting of my living room (it was so worth it!).

When my girls started school I freelanced for a while, which was lovely but didn’t last, and then a friend suggested I submit slides of my art to our local Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. Being a part of the Festival was something I’d fantasized about for years, never dreaming that my art could be my passport there. Imagine my surprise when my slides successfully survived the jury process, especially when the three that I’d submitted were of the only three drawings I’d done in years. I learned of my acceptance to the Festival in May of that year and realized with horror that I was expected to have a shop full of work by the middle of August. Those few weeks were a blur of worry and ’round-the-clock drawing, during which time I also learned to sew (period costumes, no less!) and do shop repairs that involved things like circular saws and cordless drills. Nevertheless, it was all a thrill beyond words. ’Fest ignited something in me that’d been smoldering since childhood. Not only was I drawing galloping horses and fairy waifs again, but I was also knee-deep now in minstrels and music and swordplay and play-acting. It was like stepping into a Fairy Tale. Unfortunately, it seemed to rain every day of the show that year and the roof of my little shop leaked like a rusty colander (not bad if one’s product is pottery). And in my rush to get ready for the show I’d sewn costumes for us all but forgot cloaks, and the season was not only wetter than usual but colder as well. I even seem to recall having to float my art on a makeshift raft out to my car because of all the ground water! All things considered, I should have thrown my hands up in despair after the last weekend, vowing never to return, but even with those dire difficulties I still thought the experience was too awesome for words and only wished I’d thought to be a part of it sooner…

In the 20 years that I’ve been a part of the show, my little shop – Mayfaire — has gone through some changes (as have I), from being nothing more than a manger held together with spit and tar paper to evolving into the enchanted cottage that it is today. And my art has seen some changes as well. Pen & ink were my weapons of choice back then, but now I draw primarily in pencil and graphite, and my subjects have become more delicate and whimsical with each passing year.

I still live in the house where my daughters and I ‘grew older’ (we’re still not grown up, thankfully!), only now I share it with a lot of pets and my partner, James, a fellow artist and glassworker and all-around-very-fabulous-and-stable-guy (primarily because he lives with me and hasn’t lost his mind yet). Although I was cautioned against naming the poor house something derogatory, I’ve christened it ‘Tumbledown’ because right now that is precisely what it’s doing. James and I spend our days here happily cocooned in our respective studios, two of half-a-dozen Tumbledown rooms that all look like something out of Harry Potter Meets Sanford & Son. There is no vertical surface here that isn’t covered with art (I use the term loosely), no horizontal surface that isn’t layered with books, no piece of hand-me-down furniture that isn’t covered with cat hair. The walls ring with laughter and music and laughter and deep discussion and laughter and friendly conversation and laughter, and there is always a pot of ‘Company Coffee’ perking on the stove and something creative blossoming on the drawing table or workbench. While the neighborhood around us drives off to work each day, James and I are living our dreams. It’s so good to be me!!

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Updated 7/23/2002

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