Artist Interview: Diane Williams

Posted by Crossroads Art Center General Account - February 06 2023


Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. After my husband and I bought our first home that was full of plain white walls, I began painting and decorating. I painted a large canvas floorcloth for the floor under our kitchen table.  My friends and neighbors would admire my painted wall and furniture and ask where I found them and this was the start of my business.


I have been running art to Di for for over 20 years now, and am a member of several design and art groups like the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL), which I served as President. I also guest lecture at U or R in the Interior Decorating Certification Program and speak to new designers about how decorative painting can enhance their projects. My favorite part of decorative painting is that it is completely unique to you, no one else will have that design!


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. It depends on if I am decorative painting or painting barrel staves. The decorative painter aspect is collaborative, so I work closely with the designer and the client. The barrel staves are really my fun escape to play around with colors and designs. They are me, my personality, and represent doing what I love. I get a lot of hugs in my work life; I make peoples visions come to life and it’s very rewarding.


A few years ago, my husband and I transformed our unsused dining room into a pub. I wanted to decorate it along that theme so I bought a used whiskey/beer barrel from Center of the Universe Brewery in Ashland and turned it into a cocktail table. I also had a tall, thin wall that I wanted something architectural there so we took another barrel apart, cleaned it and then painted 5 of the staves inspired by a rug I bought in Morocco. Not long after, Jenni encouraged me to enter my barrel staves into the Designers and Architects as Artists Exhibition-my piece sold before the art opening! I source my barrels from local breweries like Hardywood, COTU and Blue Mountain and I sign the back of each stave with where they come from.


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. Travel is a huge inspiration for me. I love to travel to places that embrace and celebrate pattern. I went to Morocco, and loved how they turn everyday items like tile into works of art. I love cultures that really embrace pattern. Next month we are going to Malaysia, and we are excited to see the street mural art.


Q. What are you working on now?

A. I am working on a set of 12 barrel staves for a family in Charlottesville. When I was commissioned for this project, the family wanted each barrel stave to represent a member of their family. So, I spent an hour talking to each family member, to learn about them and their interests and incorporate that into each design. My husband said, ‘this is how you paint portraits; you are painting each barrel stave that basically embodies that person’.


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. I am so drawn to the layers of patterns. Life also has many layers, and my creative work is how I interpret those layers.