Rae Dunn and her dog, Wilma, in her studio
Artist Profile: Rae Dunn
Our steadfast partner Rae Dunn, mined her heritage to inspire a new curated homestead collection of everyday objects in a range of authentic materials. These thoughtfully crafted pieces are designed to enhance even the smallest part of one’s day with their innate beauty.
We visited Rae's studio to hear more about the inspiration behind the newest line. Here we chat with Rae about her background, her inspirations and get a peek at her Heritage line.
MAGENTA: Describe where you grew up and how you got connected with art.
RAE DUNN: “I grew up in Fresno, California with four siblings, two parents, and always at least one dog.
I believe that we are ALL born as artists with natural instincts to create. I just never stopped!
I was also lucky enough to have parents who nurtured our creativity from the very beginning. Along with starting piano lessons at age four, our mother took us on weekly trips to the hobby shop where we could pick out any project to pursue.
I was always doing a wide variety of making. From model airplanes, paint by numbers, shrinky dinks, macramé, an easy bake oven, etc. I think that being so deeply immersed in music and art as a child played a huge role in my love and need for creative expression as an adult.”
MAGENTA: What made you fall in love with clay and ceramics?
RAE DUNN: “I started ceramics purely by chance. While riding my bike in Golden Gate Park, I stumbled across a beautiful building that, to me, looked like a castle. This magical building turned out to be a public community art center. I just wanted to be in the building somehow so I randomly signed up for a class. The only two classes that fit my schedule were stained glass and ceramics, neither of which I had ever done or had even thought about."
"I flipped a coin to decide which class to take and it landed on ceramics. The minute I touched clay, I fell madly in love with it and it slowly started taking over my life, until one day it became my life. I love the tactile nature of ceramics. I love that you can make something out of a lump of dirt. I love being able to create something with my hands that is so essential and useful in our every day life.”
MAGENTA: Can you tell us about your art background?
RAE DUNN: “I didn’t go to art school and have never had any real art classes. I believe that because I was truly uninformed, it allowed me to make and break my own rules. Because I was allowed so much creative freedom as a child, it made me think that anything was possible and I always knew that I would have some sort of creative career. I was always very much into handwriting, fonts, and words. Originally, I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer, but as I began doing that, everything started shifting towards technology and I quickly lost interest. I am a self diagnosed Luddite.”
MAGENTA: How do you describe your work?
Rae Dunn: “My work is clean, simple, quiet, accessible, utilitarian, and imperfect.”
MAGENTA: What has been most rewarding about your work?
RAE DUNN: “My work seems to bring joy to a lot of people. I love hearing directly from my customers about how my work has changed their life, helped them somehow, or has brought them a new community of friends.”
MAGENTA: Where can you be found when you’re not working?
RAE DUNN: “Hiking in the woods, traveling to a new place, or in a hot and stinky Bikram yoga class.”
F I L L I N T H E B L A N K
MAGENTA: If I wasn’t an artist I’d be ?
RAE DUNN: A puppy petter.
MAGENTA: A great day begins with ?
RAE DUNN: A good previous night of sleep.
MAGENTA: I never leave home without ?
RAE DUNN: A sketchbook and a pen or mechanical pencil.
MAGENTA: The next place I want to travel is ?
RAE DUNN: Cambodia.
MAGENTA: My dream dinner party guests include ?
RAE DUNN: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, Gregory Peck (for a little eye candy), Pablo Picasso and Lump (his dog), my four grandparents, Freda Kahlo, Kelly Rippa, Anaïs Nin.
The Heritage Collection by Rae Dunn
POUR OVER MAGIC
"I’m very excited about my new Heritage line. I value objects that have a history and that can tell a story. I feel that this line truly represents my own personal lifestyle; which is simple, utilitarian, and straightforward." - Rae Dunn
Write It Down
ARTIST JOURNALS & GRAPHIC PENCILS, PENS
"One of my favorite new items from this collection is the leather journal. I am a notetaker, a sketcher, and an observer who is never without a notebook on hand. I love that these are refillable and that the leather will just keep getting better and better with age." - Rae Dunn
Time for Textiles
TEA TOWELS, COASTERS, NAPKINS, GIFT BAGS AND AN APRON.
Rae,I met one of my best friends, Sheila Quinn while collecting Rae Dunn. It has only been 2 years since I met her, but she is very special to me and those that come across her. In September 2019 she was told she was in remission from triple negative breast cancer. All of us close to her were elastic, however on 10/02 which was literally her 3 year anniversary, Sheila went to the Emergency room for chest pains and masses were found in her lungs. After scans and tests, her cancer has metastasized to her lungs, liver, bones, lymph nodes and breasts. She is now on hospice and has a terminal diagnoses.
She is such a caring and kind soul and even collected and donated survivor mugs to her oncologist recently. The Rae community around here regardless of likes, has come together to help her fulfill her iso, but I want to go beyond that. I was very fortunate to see many in this community to ban together in support for her, that normally would not have. I am humbling asking for something hand written from you Rae. Her favorite saying, is “it is the little things” or when I find something on her ISO " I am so excited" !
I would love if you could take a couple of minutes out of your day to send her something personal.
Sheila Quinn1747 Brandon Ave.Petersburg, VA 23805
I love the simplistic, imperfect beauty of your stem print ware. I so admire your talent. I started collecting about 2 years ago Would love to see an upright napkin holder like the Christmas one you did but for everyday use. I’m so excited to get the new salt and pepper with handles.
Where do I start. I was online one day and I spotted one of your bird house clocks, it filled my heart with happiness because of it’s simplistic and heartfelt design, from there I was hooked and now I have many pieces on display in my home. I also love giving them as gifts because you can give it and without ever saying a word, the person knows instantly in one or a few words, that the gift was from my heart. Rae Dunn’s pottery is an inspiration to me, to try and find simplicity and meaning in my life in few words! Thank you Rae Dunn for beautiful yet simple everyday pottery. Sincerely, a loyal follower. Donna Kilbert PS Love Wilma. There is nothing better in life than to have a “furry” companion by your side!🐾
My daughter just became a collector. I had purchased “Military Dad” for my hubby but didn’t have one for me. So we hit the ground “dunning”! So much fun! So in our travels my Emma really wanted a the Tea Pot. Wouldn’t u know some nice lady placed the exact piece she wanted in her cart and disappeared. My daughter calls her an angel. How did she know? She just felt the pure energy! Really neat! I’m in 100%. What a great feeling to help someone and put a big smile on their face
Love this! You are a wonderful person Rae Dunn :). I have a small (large) collection of your pottery, it makes me happy. We don’t get much in our small city in Canada but I try (I have bought some items way above retail :( ). Love it all!
This was such a nice treat. I love hearing about people I admire’s ideas, history and how much they love what they do. It solidifies my choice of their work or why I admire them. In Rae’s case, I love how she just loves to create. She sounds like the joy it brings me, she has put into each piece. I know she didn’t make each one I own, but at least it was her heart that goes into them.
Thank you and keep creating.
i love that Apron! Hope that particular style will be sold soon..
I have been a Rae Dunn fan and collector for a few short months. I cannot explain how her work has touched my soul in so many ways. I love Rae’s philosophy and she has awakened how I look at beauty with her imperfect, yet perfect elegant style. She is one of a kind. I can honestly say I have never been touched by an artist like this. Rae Dunn is an amazing story teller with her hands. I feel honored to have a few a her pieces and hope I can continue to grow my collection.
I love hearing about someone finding their purpose and gift in life.This is a blessing so many of us never achieve. Rae Dunn your ceramics are so beautiful and now I know why, because they are from your gifted heart, soul and mind.
Very inspiring article .
Love your products!!! Thank you! Will there be additional pieces with Spanish words and will the typewriter font still be available?
Wonderful article .Loved reading about your weekly childhood trips to the craft store and how positive and supportive your family was .
You make beautiful objects that are art all in themselves.
Ahh! Your Heritage collection is absolutely gorgeous!! I love earthy-looking things and I’m excited to collect them!
Loved your article. Would appreciate hearing where Rae Dunn’s pottery can be found besides Home Goods and Marshall’s. Are there gift stores in the Southern/Northern California area that carry some different items?