Ceramic Artist Studio Sonoma, California

Originally from Chicago, Shelley now lives in Northern California and works out of her studio in Sonoma.  She studied painting, drawing, and clay techniques with various experts both in the US and at La Meridiana in Italy.  Earlier in her life, she was a psychotherapist and executive coach, spent several years assisting in an archaeology lab where she dug, sorted and identified artifacts found on the grounds of the San Francisco Presidio, and interned in the ethnographic department of an auction house.  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 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 works, seem to confirm that art’s impact can sometimes be felt when less is more.

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.