Want to escape for a moment from the onslaught of phones, computers, television, and the noise? This artist and teacher reminds people to sit quietly and take a deep breath and relax, Her cyanotypes, batik, and mixed media, including rust-printing, help you do just that.

Photos Courtesy of Valerie Doran Bashaw

Sit and relax. Unwind. Retreat from the hectic world. Sound good?

Valerie Doran Bashaw intends for her artwork to remind and encourage people to embrace a quiet and meditative experience. So sit quietly and take a deep breath and look at Valerie’s work.

She has been an artist all of her life, ever since she took art classes from “two really good teachers in high school,” she says. One introduced her to macrame, and the other to tie-dye. She liked working with fabrics and color and has spent her life creating artwork and teaching “to feed my habit,” as she says.

Her current work is creating cyanotypes, mixed media, and batiks. “Cyanotypes are like blueprints, like early architectural plans, an early printing process,” she says. “I make stencils, then you expose the paper to the sun, and where the sun hits, the paper turns blue, where the paper is covered, it stays white. It’s a print-making process.”

She also has been rust-printing, essentially using rusty metal to imprint on fabric, and then she might stitch with gold or metallic threads or beads. She has also been using plaster on birch boards, creating art reminiscent of landscapes in the Southwest. She spent years painting on silk, dyeing silk scarves, weaving, and paper-making.

She also has been creating batik artwork and has taught batik and other fiber classes at the Ghost Ranch Conference and Education Center at Abiquiu, New Mexico, as well as other places.

Teaching has been an important part of Valerie’s life. “My art is pretty eclectic, and that makes me a good teacher. I know a little bit about a lot of stuff,” she says.

Valerie earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, both in fine arts and fiber. She has taught fiber, studio classes, and art history at the University of Central Missouri, Park University at Parkville, and many other places. She has taught students of all ages, from kindergarten to senior citizens, and of all abilities, including work with Accessible Arts, part of the Kansas State School for the Blind. “I’ve worked with kids and adults with disabilities, all kinds of disabilities, and that was a fabulous experience,” she adds.

She was an Artist in Residence for the nonprofit Kansas City Young Audiences for eleven years, and she would go to schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. “That was like theater. You had to perform to keep their attention. So much work, so much fun.”

She is currently teaching with the Metropolitan Community Colleges.

Valerie is a member of the Missouri Fiber Artists and was a former juried member of Best of Missouri Hands. She lives in Kansas now.

“I love being an artist, I’m happiest when I’m creating or teaching art,” she says.

She will have a show at Leedy Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City from May–July 2023. Visit her website to see more of her work.