As a clay and ceramic artist, Dawn has worked with clay since she was five. As a student, she studied with Hunt Prothro using a kickwheel and at Duke Ellington School of the Arts (bronze mold sculpture). As an active clay artist, Dawn has affiliated with various collaboratives such as Vermont Clay
Studio (Waterbury), The Clay Studio at Absolam Jones Center (Delaware), where she first began experimenting with Raku clay. Glen Echo Pottery (Maryland), University of Vermont Living and Learning Studio (Burlington) and Burlington City Arts Clay Studio (Burlington).
Recently, Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Association Artisan Grant Program awarded Dawn a grant to support her development of a Life Vessel series.
Photo "Volcano Vessel" by Dawn M. Ellis.
While teaching arts
partnerships from across the state of Wyoming, Dawn learned Strappo
monoprinting working with artist Katie Christiensen. Bringing this
technique of monoprinting back to Vermont, Dawn further explored the
technique as the artist-research-in-residence at the Vermont Studio
Center. A rough hewn approach to monoprinting that is pressed without a
printing press, then pulled off the glass, Dawn finds great enjoyment
in this textured, crackled printmaking technique.
Most recently found doing pop up large symphonic works with the Green Mountain Mahler Festival Chorus, Dawn will perform some upcoming spring pieces with the Burlington Choral Arts Society. Dawn has performed large choral works with chamber and full choral ensembles of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra under Robert DeCormier and Kate Tamarkin, the Choral Arts Society and the National Symphony Orchestra under Norman Scribner and Leonard Slatkin, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra under Paul Head and David Amado. Singing a cappella, she toured the U.S. and Asia with various groups, including Whim 'n' Rhythm and Out of the Blue of Yale, which she co-founded, serving as its first musical director. Dawn classically trained in piano at American University's preparatory program with Claire Rozier, studied composition at Yale University, and voice with Bill Reed Voice Studios.
Dawn scats and improvises harmonies with all manner of musician or sound. She elicits sound pieces from groups of people who consider themselves nonmusicians.
Photograph "Bark" by Dawn M. Ellis.
As a poet, Dawn both focuses on the word on page and the spoken word. With the upcoming book, Dandelion Rising, a project in process, Dawn explores collaboration, story, sound and visual imagery in poetry. In June 2019, she will weave poetry speaking, singing and poetic facilitation into facilitation of inclusion understanding for a regional gathering of creative communities focused on building local economies. Dawn received a Bachelors of Arts in English from Yale University, with a focus on theatre and poetry.