Denise Emerson

Denise Emerson was born in Shelton, Washington, eldest daughter of Bertha Allen who was an enrolled Twana (Skokomish) Tribal Member and Danny Emerson, Sr. who was an enrolled Dine (Navajo) Tribal Member from Sanostee, New Mexico. During her childhood she watched her parents be creative in different ways. Denise’s father oil painted and sketched while her mother sewed and beaded during her free time. She believes she inherited both of her parents’ artistic talents and skills. Denise’s sketchbook went with her everywhere, including when she visited her aunt on the Skokomish reservation. She sketched during the drive to and from the reservation, and whenever her creative energy pushed her to draw. During her teenage years Denise began painting with acrylics, beading, sewing and expanding her artistic talents.

Denise learned how to back, edge, and fringe beadwork at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), where she also took painting, drawing and design classes. At that time, she used colored pencils and graph paper to create bead designs. After many years of administrative work at the City of Seattle, Denise enrolled in the UW Graphic Design Program to bring more design training to her work. There she learned to use MS Excel and other software with a goal to design every piece with the family aesthetic in heart and mind. She continues to create bead designs in MS Excel, having learned that her compositions could be as long and wide as she wanted; the designs themselves became art pieces. Denise studies historical flat beaded bags for the contemporary beadwork that she still does and also uses those designs for prints.

You can find more of Denise’s work at her Etsy shop here.

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Gallery 110’s mission is to provide dynamic opportunities to established and emerging professional artists in an environment that encourages creative expression, experimentation and collaboration. As a nonprofit organization, the gallery fosters artistic and professional connections between its associated artists and the arts community at large through creative dialogue, the presentation of challenging and enriching curated exhibitions, public opportunities and collaborative projects.