Originally from Chicago, Shelley now lives in Northern California. She works out of her studio in Sonoma, devoting full time to her ceramic practice. Although initially trained on the wheel, for the last several years, she has embraced hand-building, specifically coiling, as a technique that enables her to build complex sculptural forms. Shelley holds a Certificate in the Appraisal of Fine and Decorative Arts from University of California, Irvine, an MA from University of Chicago, and a BA from University of Illinois, Urbana.
My approach to abstract sculpture is driven by my interest in the elements of form and the unique qualities of clay, specifically, plasticity and strength. Using hand-rolled coils, I strive to construct work that conveys tension, movement and energy.
I see the process of making art as a combination of disciplined self-expression and problem solving. Although for me, it is mostly an intuitive process, the final piece is still an implicit statement of my mood and thoughts at the time of creating it. I prefer that people make their own connection with my sculptures, and for that reason, I usually avoid naming each piece. The abstract sculptures of modern artists such as Moore, Arp, and Duckworth, and the simplified, minimalist forms often found in Cycladic and tribal art, influence my work.
Hand-building is an ancient, slow meditative process. Clay, being one of the oldest sculptural materials, embodies geologic history and the remnants of civilizations. Its smell when wet, its tactility, its invitation for immersion and total engagement, connects me to something much larger than myself.