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Unique Art of Julie Dawson '58 Featured in Detroit Free Press

January 5, 2015

Julie Dawson, a watercolor artist and 1958 graduate of DePauw University, "has spent decades tracking and finding bells all over the world," notes an article in the Detroit Free Press. "She has 15,000 photographs of bells and nearly as many stories. She has written one book about world bells [Seeing the World Through the Heart of its Bells] that has 500 pictures in it and has enough pictures to make another book just about bells in the U.S." (photo by Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)

The story by Ellen Creager notes that Dawson began traveling the world as a Girl Scout and "just visited her 100th country, Turkmenistan, in October ... Dawson shot photographs on her trips that could be used for later painting inspiration, of children and flowers mostly. Then one day in Detroit, she met Susan Berry, an authority on hand bell ringing who owned a shop in Dearborn. Dawson started shooting photographs of bells on her trips to make note cards Berry could sell in her shop."

Julie (Whitney) Dawson, who was an English major at DePauw, tells the newspaper, "Every culture and country throughout the world, through history, has used bells in the most extraordinary ways." She adds, "Throughout the world, bells are more utilitarian, to make life function. In the U.S., because we are inventive and because we are affluent, we can use bells in creative, silly ways as well as serious ways."

EAST COLLEGE TOWER hdrCreager writes, "Dawson has found strange and quirky bells in all corners of dozens of countries: at a hospital in Norway, a farm in Cambodia, even at the New York Stock Exchange. She has photographed cowbells, telephone bells, church bells, school bells, bells that hang around the necks of elephants and camels, bells on the lively legs of traditional British Morris dancers, bells made of splendid brass or carved crudely of wood, bells that have rung in wars or greeted emperors, and bells rung by trained swans pulling on a string to get treats. Once she visited a barn in Lithuania where an artist had collected bells that had been stolen across the countryside by the Russians -- and he traded vodka to get them all back."

Read the complete feature -- "15,000-bell quest takes Birmingham artist around globe" -- at the paper's website.

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