Romney Dodd’s work has taken a variety of forms over the years and much of her inspiration is through her own life experiences. Her creative story begins with dabbling in ceramics when her kids were young as a fun, creative outlet. That hobby quickly became a full-time labor of love as her dishware and decorative pieces became incredibly popular.
Later her medium of choice became hand-painted Dansko clogs. That work came about when she decided to paint her own worn-out clogs to spruce them up. So many people loved them she created an entire line that sold as fast as she could paint. In 2014 Alaskans on the Olympic Nordic Ski Team wore custom-painted Romneys to the games in Sochi!
Romney’s studio is a hotbed of creativity. On any given day you’ll see painted doors, fabrics, clogs, ceramics, and fish. Lots of fish.
Romney’s latest work is iconically Alaskan. And again, inspired by everyday life. When a local taxidermist decided to clean out their stock of unclaimed fish, inspiration struck and Romney’s newest medium was born.
Watching how she turns these former trophies into works of art was really fun, if also bewildering. I mean, really...who thinks to paint fish?! But once you see the fantastic completed product it feels like, duh! Of course you would paint fish!
To get the fish ready for painting, she takes the fish skin mounted on styrofoam, then drills out the eye sockets in order to place glass eyes.
After carefully gluing in the eyes, she cleans and preps the form to get ready to paint.
She either paints the fish as is, or puts down a layer of Bondo® and once dried, sprays the fish a solid color. She then paints each fish with whimsical designs in vibrant colors, and sometimes adds a little bedazzling.
The result is a tribute to the fish, as well as an homage to Alaskan native artwork. The most beautiful afterlife a fish could have imagined.
Romney's fish are prized pieces since they are all one-of-a-kind. You may see some of her fish in private collections or as commissions. I would love to have an entire school of Romney fish but at the very least that beautiful little grayling shown above must be mine one day!
What happens when she runs out of fish? Well, once they're gone they're gone so if you want one, go buy one tout de suite. What happens for Romney? She'll have space for her next idea.
Speaking of new ideas...Next up for Romney: Her friends at the Quilted Raven have asked her to create fabrics from her designs. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some new Romney batiks in the near future.
If you peek in the windows of Romney's downtown studio you may catch a glimpse of some of the projects she's currently working on.