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. The medium allows me to endow the manmade object with vitality. My biomorphic pieces are inspired by the shared organic nature of the landscape and human form. Using mostly hand-rolled coils, my sculptures attempt to embody the movement, growth and even decay I see among geologic, botanic and human shapes.
Hand-building is an ancient, slow meditative process. Clay, being one of the oldest sculptural materials, holds geologic history and the remnants of civilizations. Its invitation for immersion and total engagement, connects me to something much larger than myself.
The abstract sculptures of modern artists such as Moore, Arp, Hepworth and Duckworth, and the simplified, minimalist forms often found in Cycladic and tribal art, influence my work.