hands have always been guided by a powerful quest to interpret and reconfigure
reality. The arts were an important outlet for expression since I can
recall. Pushing the boundaries while exploring traditional media during
my formal education uncovered an enduring fascination for quirky personalities.
Growing up with a mentally ill sibling I came to realize the arts would
be absolutely essential for my own emotional health. The mind/body connection
cannot be refuted: visualization techniques allowed my escape into my
imaginary world when facing surreal odds.
passions included playing flute, singing, dance, and creative writing.
Within the visual arts field, my creations have ranged from wood, clay
sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography and jewelry design. While
sculpting my ceramic figures, the subconscious and intuition share the
role of revealing life's joys and challenges. Each vision seems to require
a different medium or mixed media which I've recently added collaged
clay, glass, metal, stones with other found objects.
Focusing on clay sculpting for the past six years came about in an unexpected
way: When my child was diagnosed with a rare disease she endured many
hospitalizations requiring endless hours of painful procedures. Being
the primary caregiver, I sought the most forgiving medium for her to
focus her energy on: clay. Malleable, soft, and great for pounding out
frustrations, she bloomed. And while her disease remains, her friends
call her "Sunshine." Her physicians also attribute the ongoing
art therapy to her incredibly optimistic outlook.
and teaching art are the perfect combination of my enduring love for
people. By sharing what I've learned and honestly expressing a diverse
range of emotions I hope to show others struggling that there is a healthy
way to cope. After years of working to master techniques I'm happy to
"say what I mean" more clearly. Although I worked my way through
college to obtain a teaching degree, I believe learning gleaned informally
from reading books at the library and trial-and-error methods served
my purposes as well.
As an abuse survivor the creative process literally saved my life. Being
able to speak through my clay about society's violence, natural disasters,
mental illness, and interpersonal relationships helps me cope when the
pain is unbearable. LIFE TRACKS is one example of a woman's struggle
to overcome a painful history. The tracks show how she progresses and
regresses throughout her healing. The butterfly represents freedom from
of my art is an evolving narration of interactions within our society.
The social implications stem from my personal experiences but become
universal as each viewer carries a history within. Often I've questioned
whether creating works which often are not considered "beautiful"
but instead frankly show the dark side of life are valuable. Then I
began receiving emails from abuse survivors who expressed their gratitude
for creating an open forum. Once, a woman said my work felt as if it
wrapped around her like a warm quilt. . . At that point, I knew my life's
work served a purpose. Capturing honest emotions in clay furthers an
understanding of what it means to be human.
SHEA, Clay By Shea, Oregon, WI 53575 E: firstname.lastname@example.org