Shelley is a ceramic sculptor whose focus is on the hand-building of abstract forms. She works out of her studio in Sonoma, California. Her interest in clay was sparked by early college classes in geology and archaeology. Although she studied and created art during her career in counseling and coaching, she was able to pursue sculpting full time 11 years ago. Shelley has a BA from the University of Illinois, Urbana, an MA from the University of Chicago and a Certificate in the Appraisal of Fine and Decorative Arts from the University of California, Irvine. She volunteered at the San Francisco Presidio's Archaeology Department for many years, and also had an internship in the ethnographic arts department of a San Francisco auction house.
Shelley was represented for many years by Coastal Eddy Gallery, Laguna Beach until its closing. You can see some of her work at Hammerfriar Gallery in Healdsburg, California.
The focus of my studio practice emanates from my fascination with the genesis of clay. Clay's geologic origin in the landscape that surrounds us, and its significance as one of the world's oldest sculptural materials, has greatly influenced my work. I draw inspiration from the mountains, rock and terrain, and respect the lengthy journey that clay took to reach its current form. As a repository of earth's history and past civilizations, clay connects me to something much larger than myself.
My abstract sculptures are "clay formations." The unique qualities of clay, specifically plasticity and strength, allow me to explore the shared organic nature of geologic, botanic and human forms. My focus is on line, texture, shape, shadow and negative space.
Each of my sculptures is unique and hand-built using rolled coils and occasionally altered pinch pots. It is a slow, meticulous and ancient process - a dance between strategic and deliberate action and improvisational gesture. This building method allows me to create objects that display tension and energy. Testing the limits of what the material can do, I squeeze, fold, push, scrape, pound and carve the clay, leaving both imperfections and marks. I continually study the sculpture looking for suggestions of other forms that may invite exploration. Similar to the experience of viewing a geologic landscape, I want the observers of my art to discover and identify their own forms with my sculptures and assign their own meanings and associations.