DHG: what are your sources of inspiration?
SHELLEY: garden and woodland growth, seed pods, fungi, microscopic photography, man-made tools and their shapes, angles and movement. Hah! Just about anything that catches my eye.
D: do you use one color more than others in your work?
S: I am partial to rust, olive and mustard colors, woodsy, Fall colors. But admire vibrantly colored work.
D: the world of textile art is wide and diverse, why has wool caught your attention?
S: I came from silversmithing and beadwork, and find that felt offers me lightness and malleability and unending color.
D: what do you express with your Soft Sculptures and works?
S: I have no overarching statement to make. I get an idea and think, “What if…” and I am off to try it. It can be something that turns into a piece of jewelry or a decorative vessel or wall piece. Felt, for me, is a very tactile medium. It feels good under my hand and I want others to feel it too.
D: is there a time of year or of the day in which you are more creative?
S: I am definitely a night person, I begin to work late afternoon into the late night. In the winter I tend to want to “cocoon”, but come spring I begin to actively work.
D: once your work is finished, how do you feel? Are you possessive and wish you could keep it all to yourself or are you eager to share it with others?
S: when I first started it was hard to let go of my pieces, but now I am barely finished and want to move on to my next idea. I am always pleased when someone touches my work and wants it for their own.
D: for some people, the creative process is also an occasion for a deep self-analysis. Is this the case for you?
S: felting allows for meditation. I get lost in my work, losing track of time. If I am not under pressure to finish a piece I enjoy the meditative process of “making”. I can take flights-of-fancy and bring it into my work.
D: tell us about your collaboration with DHG. Which of our fibers have you chosen for your work, and why? Is there a particular message behind the works that came out of these materials? What will you take away from this collaboration?
S: I am happy to make pieces that, through DHG Charity Project, will support the Meyer Children’s Hospital and pleased to be asked to do so. I chose to work with the extra fine merino wool tops, liking the range of colors. The top is truly extra fine and ultimately soft yet firm after felting. I used both dry and wet felting techniques. I was able to blend some of the colors to make new colors that worked for the pieces I had in mind. I was very pleased with the quickness and firmness with which it felted. I made these pieces that reflect my work, yet are new to me. Hopefully they will evoke a sense of playfulness and the quest to touch.
D: what’s your favorite movie?
S: the last movie I found truly touching and inspiring is Bill Cunningham New York. A 2010 documentary of a photographer of the people of New York and their fashion. I found the contrast between his private and working life, his introversion and yet the need to be outgoing to get what he needs to make his art, sad, sweet and joyful.
D: what literary character do you feel is most similar to yourself?
S: I have never found a character I felt similar to. I prefer to read fiction, spy novels, science fiction, and mysteries, and would not want to be many of the characters who reside there!
D: what’s the sentence you use more often?
S: there’s never enough time! Or Where did the time go…?
D: if you had the chance to choose a sound or an image to send into outer space inside the Voyager Golden Record to show aliens what life on Earth is like, what would you choose?
S: the sounds of birds calling out in spring and cicadas in the summer.
D: is there a place you especially love, a place which holds special memories for you?
S: a meadow in Yosemite National Park. So quiet and peaceful, with a burbling stream running through it.
D: if you had to choose one adjective to describe yourself, what would it be?
D: if you had a time machine and could travel to the past, which period in history would you choose and which historical figures would you want to meet?
S: I like my 21st century creature comforts too much to want to travel to the past, but there are many artists throughout time I would like to see in their studios, painters and sculptors.
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