If you’ve ever stopped by the Dwell with Dignity house on 3112 Hood Street, I’m sure the first thing you noticed was our sign!

A nice welcome to our DwD house. Image by Margaret Wolf.

Created by Dawn Cleaves of Artisan Finishes, the Dwell with Dignity sign beautifully complements our home base and proudly serves as our first impression to visitors.

Whether it’s murals, decorative arts or plasters, Artisan Finishes is highly skilled in creating masterpieces for interior and commercial spaces and we’re lucky to have them share their talent with us!

We recently got to know Dawn and Artisan Finishes a little more on our one-on-one.

1) How did Artisan Finishes all begin?

Painting, art and working with my hands are in my blood and in everything that I have always done. There was never any question that my next phase in my career would not include these skills. One of the highlights that I have always loved is the collaborative effect of scenic art. With the launch of Artisan Finishes, I have the opportunity to collaborate with clients and designers. This dynamic creates wonderful images and over all looks. 

 A scenic Italian mural at Cavalli Pizza takes you to Italy and back with a little imagination…

The decorative painted ceiling emphasizes the graceful curves from the chandelier and creates a beautiful focal point.

2) What have been your favorite projects before and during Artisan Finishes?

My favorite project during Artisan Finishes has been “The gilded wall” with designer Patricia Gifford-Crocker.  The finish is absolutely stunning and just glows.  In my previous life as a scenic artist, the ghost sign stands out.  We painted the Star Biscuits ghost sign for “Hope Floats” in 1997.  In 2005, a New York production designer asked if we could paint a ghost sign… and if we couldn’t, she would bring in someone from New York.  She showed us the reference file with pictures she took of ghost signs in small towns around central Texas.  One of the pictures was our “Star Biscuits” sign.  We told her we thought we could handle it!

 “The gilded wall” by Dawn Cleaves and Patricia Gifford-Crocker.

Star Biscuit ghost sign for the movie “Hope Floats”

3) How did you hear about Dwell with Dignity and what sparked your interest to get involved?

I was still relatively new to Dallas with two young children and was looking for a way to meet people and a creative outlet. I saw an article in The Advocate about Lisa, Kim and Dwell with Dignity. I contacted Kim and offered to volunteer. This was before I started Artisan Finishes. 

4) What was the inspiration behind Dwell with Dignity’s sign?

I have created two hand painted signs for Dwell with Dignity.  The one in front of the house and the one for Thrift Studio.  Both were painted “old school” with a quill. In keeping with how Dwell takes the old and makes it new. 

 Can you believe a quill was used to paint our sign? Image by Margaret Wolf.

Another quill painted sign by Dawn Cleaves for Thrift Studio. Image by Margaret Wolf.

Dawn also helped refinish and give new life to this dining table that currently serves as a gathering area for families at the Shared Housing Center. Image by Lance Selgo. 

5) Tell us something we don’t know about you!

While living in NY not only did I work as a painter for Broadway and Film, but I also worked as a carpenter. I was the first woman carpenter in the Metropolatian Opera in three years.  

We are so thankful to have talented supporters like Dawn, who read or hear about DwD and are pro-active about getting involved! If you would like to help Dwell with Dignity and don’t know how, find out more opportunities on our website. And be sure to visit Thrift Studio before October 29th for some great deals!