As an artist and craftsman, Diane creates original fiber arts designs and tapestries representing whimsy, fantasy, culture, and history. Diane is an adjudicated member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. She exhibits in artistic spaces such as museums, art galleries, and gift shops. Her portfolio includes hundreds of narrative and abstract designs. She fulfills commissions and many of her designs can be found in private collections. A professional storyteller since 1992, she is a lifelong learner and continues to hone her craft through professional development. She is also a teaching artist who has taught fiber arts and storytelling around the country. As a writer, Diane is committed to collecting oral history relating to people and communities. She is dedicated to writing nonfiction, prose, and poetry.
Weaving stories that illuminate and inspire
“Story reaches to the heart of who we are, what we are, and how we connect on a human and global level.”
Story is at the heart of Diane Williams' life and career. She fell in love with words as a young girl, finding refuge from a difficult childhood by immersing herself in books and poetry, and marveling at their ability to transport her into other worlds. As the class clown, she learned the power of humor and the spoken word to influence an audience.
As a young adult, Diane applied for a scholarship to attend a National Storytelling Network (formerly known as NAPPS) conference. She was delighted to receive it, and learning from master storytellers around the country opened up a career in professional storytelling.
Over the next 25 years, she published a number of books, performed her stories around the country and internationally, taught storytelling, and held leadership roles in statewide and national writing and storytelling organizations.
Along the way, Diane built upon her love of sewing to become a professional seamstress, quilter, and mixed-media fiber artist. Visual media became yet another vehicle for story.
Diane has taught classes and workshops in storytelling in its various forms to students and adults of all ages. She lives in Mississippi and continues to write, perform, and teach with passion and warmth.
Telling tales that educate, engage, and entertain
Diane performs in Mississippi and beyond, on stage, and in settings including K-12 classrooms, colleges and universities, organizational events, and corporate workshops. Her lively stories draw from a rich well of literature, history, culture, and folktales. She speaks in the style of the African “griot,” a traveling storyteller who interacts with the audience.
Contact Diane to schedule a storytelling appearance.
Bringing history and culture to life
“It’s important to connect with my audience. I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”
As an oral historian and master storyteller, Diane delivers lively presentations to multi-age audiences, large or small. She tailors her presentations for diverse communities and cultures.
Diane tells stories through the lens of faith, hope, love, and victory. Even when those stories draw from difficult periods of history, she celebrates the indomitable human spirit and the will to prevail. Her warm, conversational style is the same whether she is presenting to an audience of 20 or 200.
If you’re interested in bringing Diane to speak at your organization’s event, the Mississippi Humanities Council Speakers Bureau may cover her speaker’s fees for the following presentations:
- Parallels of Southern Storytelling and Folktales from Around the World
- The Historic Journey of African American Quilters
Learn more here about how to apply for the Speakers Bureau program, or contact Diane about speaking engagements on other topics.
Teaching the art of storytelling for connection and communication
“Story builds connections between people, which opens up empathy. People realize that the world isn’t big as they thought it was.”
Diane teaches professionals and community members of all ages to use storytelling in various forms. Stories help us better understand ourselves and each other, communicate effectively, and build relationships. Your work can have greater impact when you apply storytelling skills, whether you are teaching in a classroom, presenting data in the boardroom, or testifying on a witness stand.
Diane has trained professionals in fields such as education, human resources, volunteer management, and customer service to improve their communication through story.
Diane has also worked with communities to tell their stories through quilting and fiber arts projects, building community pride and teaching communities their history. Quilts from her community projects hang in the City Hall in Daphne, Alabama, and in the Stone County Courthouse in Wiggins, MS.
Contact Diane to schedule a professional development workshop, consulting session, or classes on storytelling or public speaking.
Illustrating the intangible
“The imagery you find in visual art illuminates a person’s mind. When you tell a story using colors and contrasts, they can reach a place of empathy within us.”
Diane has been sewing for more than five decades, learning the craft as a young girl from her community tailor. She went on to become a professional seamstress, then a quilter and mixed media fiber artist. Her fiber arts and quilted designs have been exhibited in museums, galleries, and other venues around Mississippi, on literary websites, and on the cover of literary journals.
Diane’s mixed media fiber art uses thick, rich textures and incorporates a vast variety of materials: silk yarns, paper, clay molded faces, metals, tiny stitches, beads, African stones from Zimbabwe, found objects and wood bark from a variety of trees.
Diane’s visual art designs are available through the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, art exhibitions, or by contacting her directly.
In partnership with the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC), because Diane is a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, Minigrants of up to $1,000 are available to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations (501c3) from the MAC to pay one half of her artistic fee. Grant application cycles (May 1-June 1 or November 1-December 1 annually). Visit the MAC website for more information.