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Dena Dale Crain relocated from the USA to Kenya in 1990. She has spent most of her time since then living on the shore of Lake Baringo, two hundred miles and a five hour drive north of Nairobi, with husband Jonathan Leakey, eldest son of Louis and Mary Leakey, renowned palaeontologists.
Dena saw patchwork quilting as a way to employ local women, taught herself the basics and began a small production quilting business in her home. With advanced degrees in design, anthropology, and textiles, she was uniquely positioned to help. As her experience and confidence increased, she began producing “one-off” works of art. Dena’s innovative and art quilts have been the subject of several solo art exhibitions and group quilt shows in Africa.
Dena helped found the Kenya Quilt Guild and continues to keep a pulse on its activities. She helps educate members of the society at large about quilts as art. She has written magazine articles and lectured at quilting and non-quilting functions.
Teaching in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Good Hope Quilters Guild National Quilt Festival in July 2002 moved Dena into the ranks of international quilting teachers. Since then, she has taught art quilting at such prestigious venues as the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England; the European Patchwork Meeting in Val d'Argent, France; and the International Quilt Festivals in Houston and Chicago in the USA. In 2011, she earned South Africa National Quilt Guild certification as a qualified quilt judge.
In 2004 Dena joined the faculty of Quilt University, an online educational facility for patchwork quilters. She taught online for ten years before hosting her online patchwork quilt design classes on her own site. An inventive and creative mind coupled with top-notch sewing skills makes Dena Dale Crain an educator of high merit in the world of patchwork quilting.