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Pat Ramos Biography

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[Gallery] [Biography]

Fine Southern Lady
Fine Southern Lady

Patricia Ramos Dorfmueller, of Metamora, Indiana, has been an artist for some 72 years. During that time she has worked in many mediums and in numerous settings. However, her major artistic production may prove to be her four children. As any mother would attest, rearing three sons and a daughter is no small feat. But Pat, while doing that, also managed to produce four siblings who have developed their own artistic talents, three of them as silhouette artists.

In 1947, Pat began her commercial career in St. Louis with the May Company in retail advertising. During 20 years in Cincinnati, she continued doing drawings for Lazarus, Elder Bearman, and Mabley and Carew. Designs reflecting Pat’s unique style appeared in fashion sections of nationally known papers and magazines. Greeting cards provided a second commercial outlet for her creativity. Her beautiful illustrations appeared on cards produced by Gibson Greeting Card Co. and by other companies, both in the U.S. and overseas. Not only has Pat practiced her art, but she also has shared her experience and talents with many fine young artists. While living in Cincinnati, she taught at Gebharts Ohio Graphics, Southern Ohio College, and Vogue Fashion College for Women.

Three Houses
Three Houses
Single Silhouette
Single Silhouette

But of all these pursuits, probably of more interest to the First Cuts reader is that Pat has devoted most of the past 30 years to cutting silhouettes. She was initially taught the technique by silhouette artist Henry Niles, whose encouragement and instruction she credits with starting her silhouette career. Years ago, Pat was selling her pastels at a show when Niles stopped by her booth. He told her if she could spend five minutes with him, he would change her life. He stood in front of her, cut her silhouette, handed her his scissors, and said, “Cut.” She did, and her life was changed. She now cuts over 10,000 silhouette portraits per year, each done in a few seconds simply with a pair of common scissors. She works with schools, professional organizations, civic and social clubs, and, of course, individuals.

Rita Dorfmueller Bishop began cutting silhouettes when she was 14 years old. The youngest child, Rita helped with her mother during holidays and summers. By the time she was 18, she had worked in over 14 states. Rita cut silhouettes in department stores, banks, and fairs; by age 19 she had her own agent.

When Rita graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in Textile Design in 1983, she had been working 9 years as a silhouette artist. In fact, she had used that skill to help pay her tuition there. In 1984, Rita started her own business designing and producing jewelry in Alaska.

Child on Bed, Rita Bishop
Child on Bed, Rita Bishop
Two Silhouettes, Rita Bishop
Two Silhouettes, Rita Bishop

For the past 19 years, Rita and her husband Bill have worked together as jewelers for their own company, Fishing for Gold and HockeyJewelry.com, in Fairbanks. They sell beautiful gold nugget jewelry to gift shops all over Alaska. Rita has not forgotten her mother’s legacy, however, and continues to cut silhouettes in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Kodiak, Ketchikan, Wasilla, and other Alaskan cities. To her knowledge, she is the only silhouette artist practicing in Alaska.

Unlike his sister, David Dorfmueller of Huntsville, Alabama, holds an engineering degree. He began experimenting with paper cutting about ten years ago as a hobby, taking a break from his career in software development and consulting. At first, David copied other artists’ work to begin understanding the art form but also for its therapeutic value. After a few years, he started to do variations on others’ work and then his own unique creations. Most of David’s cuttings render architecture, children, or abstract designs. Over the years, like his mother and siblings, David has developed a love for the art form. While his current job takes him all over the U.S., he continues to do new paper cuttings in his spare time.

Old Metamora Mill, David Dorfmueller
Old Metamora Mill, David Dorfmueller
Ballet, Mark Dorfmueller
Ballet, Mark Dorfmueller

Although Pat’s second son, Mark Dorfmueller, holds two psychology degrees, he has had a very successful career in information technology. However, Mark, who lives in Mason, Ohio, had always loved art and had dabbled in different media since he was a child. As he explained, “We were always surrounded by artistic creativity at home.” In particular, Mark had always admired the Impressionists and had been interested in Pointillism. Then, several years ago, when his younger daughter began ballet, he decided the ballet art form would really fit very nicely as a subject for silhouettes. “Knowing Mom and Rita were silhouette artists, I asked them to teach me.” Most of Mark’s subjects involve either ballet, because of its poetic movement, or the garden, because of the flowers’ flowing lines.

Dan Dorfmueller, Pat’s eldest son, lives in Lebanon, Ohio. Dan is the only sibling who does not cut silhouettes, but of all the Pat’s children, he may have engaged in more different artistic efforts. An architect by education and contractor by profession, Dan has been a woodcarver, stained-glass maker, building designer, and photographer, among other things. He is currently experimenting with decorative concrete.

Day Lilly, Dan Dorfmueller
Day Lilly, Dan Dorfmueller
Pat Ramos Cutting
Pat Ramos Cutting

With a long and varied career, Pat has much to be proud of. The cutting of 10,000 silhouettes a year would alone mean she had helped preserve that beautiful but dying art. But, with children spread from Alaska to Alabama-—not to mention grandchildren and great-grandchildren-—her personal influence in the artistic community has extended far beyond where she began in Granite City. And, although she is pleased to have practiced her art all these years, Pat has concluded that “Having all four of my children find pleasure in the Arts is, I think, my greatest achievement.”

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