Dale DeArmond

Dale Burlison DeArmond was born on July 2, 1914, in Bismarck, North Dakota, but moved to Tacoma, Washingon, at a young age. On July 29, 1935, she married Bob DeArmond, whom she met during high school. After their marriage in Alaska, they lived on a 37-foot troller for two years before moving to the small village of Pelican. In 1944, she moved to Ketchikan with her husband and from there back to Sitka in 1949. In Sitka, she began her career as an artist, illustrating a book published by the Sitka Printing Company. The success of these illustrations prompted DeArmond's husband to give her the Famous Artists correspondence course, after they moved to the capital city, Juneau, in 1953. Dale completed the course in three years and was doing pen and ink drawings and zinc plate lithographs when she attended a demonstration by a woodcut artist, Danny Pierce. Dale immediately became interested in woodcuts although ultimately found her favorite medium in wood engraving. She participated in numerous workshops in these latter media saying later that her art training had been catch-as-catch-can. Dale also worked with the Alaska Territorial Library moving eventually to the Juneau Public Library where she was director from 1958 until her retirement in 1979. The DeArmonds moved to the Alaska Pioneer Home in Sitka in 1991 where Dale continued to produce art for several years before her death on November 28, 2006. They are the parents of two children, Jane Donnelly and Bill DeArmond. Dale DeArmond is an exceptionally prolific artist who has not only created many art works but also illustrated numerous books, several intended for a juvenile audience. These include illustrations for adaptations of Eskimo and Indian folktales, a book of woodcuts about Juneau, an Alaska bestiary, stories of the first Russian voyages to Alaska, accounts of early visitors to southeastern Alaska, and a collection of her own prints. She is known especially for her illustrations of the mythology and folklore of Alaska Native Americans, noting that a childhood fascination with myths, legends, and fairy tales led her in this direction. Her art works have included images of Alaska wildlife, historical scenes, and wildflowers as well as Native myths and legends. When questioned at the time of her retirement about the number of works she created, she responded it numbered in the hundreds. DeArmond’s works have been exhibited at the Charles and Emma Fry Museum, Seattle, WA, the Alaska State Museum, the Anchorage History and Fine Arts Museum, and the Museum of Science in Boston. They are in the permanent collections of the Alaska State Museum, the Anchorage History and Fine Arts Museum, and Alaska Methodist University among other institutions. The Fine Arts Collection contains six wood engravings of Alaska Native ceremonial hats created by DeArmond in1994. They were inspired by old photographs in the collection of the Alaska State Museum. These engravings were donated to the Collection by the artist at the time the Jane Kemp Endowment for the Visual Arts was established in 1998. Kemp had worked as a librarian at the Juneau Public Library under DeArmond’s direction in the early 1970’s.
Source of Biography
Dale, Bob DeArmond Mark 70th Anniversary," Daily Sitka Sentinel (Friday, July 29, 2005); "Hello and Goodbye Reception for DeArmond." Juneau Empire (April 4, 1991); Whipple, Barbara. "Dale DeArmond: Legends in Woodcuts." American Artist, 46 (April 1982), 42-46; "Dale DeArmond and the Ancient Art of Woodcuts." Alaska Journal, 6 (Autumn 1976), 217-229 Contemporary Authors,138 (1993), 124-126; Who’s Who in American Art. 26th ed. (2005-2005), 301.