I am really proud of presenting Kelly Thiel in this Stories Must Be Shared series. Kelly and I met in 2010 as part of an online course and since then we became friends, online friends that are willing to meet in person one day. I am very proud of her ceramic work. She has inspired me in ways she doesn’t even know. She has been a constant supporter on all my online projects and she does it with joy and an open heart. I am very happy to share her story and her work….Enjoy!!
Her Story..in her own words
Here is a story about a mom. My mom. My best friend in the whole wide world. When I was a kid, she did the normal mom things, like cooking dinner and making us brush our teeth, but she also did other things. She taught me to grow vegetables in the garden, and how to cut the asparagus when it was ready. I still see her squatting down with that old steak knife, surveying the asparagus stalks. She taught me that in order to eat a healthy meal, there needed to be a lot of color on your plate. She also taught me to have a lot of color in my life! She showed me how to live openly, be yourself, and that home was your safe place. She also taught me to break the rules sometimes, and just have fun. I remember one day in middle school, she checked me out of school, and told me we were taking a road trip to the beach. We stopped for a dozen glazed doughnuts and then headed for a distant beach in our old ratty convertible car. It was one of the best days of my life.
Fast forward a few years. I’m out of college and my mom and I are still very close. We speak on the phone every day, even though she lives in a different city. My then-boyfriend (soon to be husband) and I decided to move to Charleston, SC, and 6 months later, my mom also moved to Charleston. While I was worried about the close proximity, it turned out to be one of the best things that had ever happened.
My mother had done a lot of oil painting when I was younger, but it had been so long since she had picked up a brush. I had the thought to get her a gift for Christmas – real painting lessons. When I told her about it, she paused, and said, “you know, I think I’d rather take a pottery class”. And then I paused, and said, “Wow, that sounds cool, can I take it with you???” And that it was it!! We never looked back. Our pottery class turned out to be not so great, on the teaching side of things, but it was enough to get us hooked on clay. It wasn’t long before we purchased a wheel, then two wheels, and then a kiln and a slab-roller. Oh man, we were in business!!! It didn’t matter how cold or how hot it was, or how many mosquitos bit us while we were throwing (since our “studio” was in an unheated building outside) we made pots. And we made more pots. We made pots until we were overflowing with pottery, and then it was time to sell. We started doing retail shows together all the time. We traveled to different states, stayed in a variety of hotels, doing lots of good and bad shows. Each one is a precious, precious memory.
Then, all of a sudden, things changed. We were driving to a show in Florida in early 2008, and my mom got confused on the road. She didn’t know how to drive, or how to handle the fork in the road. I knew then, that something was very, very wrong. Not long after that, she was diagnosed with cancer. Stage 4, in the lungs and in the brain. The tumors, all 40+ of them, are what caused her to forget how to drive that day. I was 5 months pregnant with my first daughter.
10 months later, my mom passed away. I had a 5 month old baby, and I struggled each day. I went through the blackest time in my life. When I should have been celebrating life, I was struggling with death and depression. I stopped doing anything creative whatsoever, and just tried to make it through each day.
When I ever so slowly began to come out of my fog, I knew that I was almost ready to go back to the studio. I also knew that my pottery work was going to change dramatically. Hugely. Finally, the day came when I was ready to try it. I sat down at my work table and let my hands just sort of play. And birds came out! This was good; it felt right. I kept making birds, and then I realized how I could manipulate them to show emotion and concept, and I could use birds to express everything that had happened in my heart.
I never went back to my wheel. I still have my wheel though, and I will use it when friends want to play, or if my daughters want to try it. But I am done throwing. It doesn’t suit my patience anymore. It feels better to slap, squeeze, and squish the clay into forms that I want. I work intuitively sometimes, other times I have a sketch I use.
I started making bird sculptures, and I felt a tiny release each time. Sometimes I cried while I worked, and other times it made my heart happy, but it was what I needed. All of it. So I started focusing on my sculpture alone.
Letting go of all the functional pottery I had made in the past. It was done.
That was 4 years ago. I’m still loving my sculpture process, and my birds. I am excited each time I get to go to my studio and be with them. So now, looking back on that time in my life, it’s no exaggeration to say that it was THE life-changer of my life. All I once, I became an orphan, a mother, and a sculptor.
Thank you for reading my story.
I’m so proud to share some of her stunning work:
My narrative sculptures are an expression of the deep sorrow, delirious joy and tumult I’ve experienced thus far in my life. Flight, by all its definitions, connotations, and implications is a flying away from; a rising to; an escape and a release; an expression of desperation and joy. Emotions beat inside me on wings on anguish and fear, but also on wings of happiness and love. I am hopefully able to release all that I carry inside me, bird by bird, one small release at a time.
About Kelly Thiel (Her Bio):
Kelly found clay in 1999. Interested in all things creative, she grew up with an artistic mother on a small farm in rural Georgia, where she developed her love of playing in the mud. Those formative years influenced her greatly, and since then, she has always been involved in the arts.
A couple of years after graduating from Virginia Tech, Kelly moved to Charleston, SC and began working in clay. She traveled around the country to study with different artists, like Tom Coleman and Lisa Clague, to further her knowledge of the material. She has shown her award-winning work in regional and national exhibitions, and currently participates with the American Craft Council retail shows each year. Several of her sculptures were also included in the Art Buzz, Collection 2008 and 2011, which is an art book, deidcated to the visual arts. Kelly has also recently expanded to offer her pieces in bronze.
With a studio on John’s Island, SC Kelly is able to stay connected with the natural environment and has a view of pastures and a pond, with many trees and birds.
Kelly is married with two young daughters, who have already attended many art shows and exhibits in their short lives. Information: Phone: 843.437.4914 www.kellythielstudio.com email@example.com
I am sure that you adored meeting Kelly Thiel. You can follow her and her stunning work at www.kellythielstudio.com.
Stay tuned for more amazing stories in the next weeks.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day and Enjoy the rest of the week!!
Inspiration and Art #10
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
I love New York and and have been there many times. I love to walk and walk and walk. Each visit brings new adventures, new restaurants, new museums a new musical a new air. I have been there with my sons as kids, as teenagers and as adults. My son studied in Troy and visiting New York was one of the most rewarding things in each trip. He even proposed to his now wife in Central Park and we had a celebration dinner at Mezzogiorno Restaurant in Little Italy. I love this restaurant, as I love Latin Bistro and Dos Caminos (my favorite for lunch) in SOHO. As for me, Dos Caminos makes the best guacamole, the best.
I’ve been in NY three times on a two weeks stay to teach during the nights (not art related) and discover new things during the day. The first time I was there teaching I went alone. I have never been in a subway by myself and I got lost and called my then husband crying. In few days I was an expert and the experience was awesome. My husband or I may say my ex, arrived a few days after my breakdown and my son a week later. At the same time my sister was visiting with her son. He was there as a musician and was to perform along with his college mates in the Carnegie Hall..Yes The Carnegie Hall. This experience was a blast, my sister, my son and my nephew, all at the same time in NY. With a few of my instructions (now an expert) they learned fast to use the subway. The time was perfect and they went to a musical (I was teaching), a must to do when we go to New York. I am planning to return to Dos Caminos next week, if I can find the time…because this time my visit to NY is a dream come true…as an artist, as a woman. As I mentioned before, I will be participating in SURTEX and my designs will be there to be watched by thousands of people. Scary, indeed., but how sweet and how exciting!:).
I have been away from this blog because I had just one month to get ready to be there on next Saturday 19, when I will be setting up my booth. Isn’t this awesome. Three years ago I would never thought this will ever happen, but it did and I am so happy, so proud and so grateful to have this opportunity. I’m still in my last minute tweaks with the booth and a lot of designs are not named yet, but I am almost there. I will be in BOOTH #677..so manufacturers are very much welcome as are my online friends, most of them from creative curses I have taken from the past two years. I hope I will have lots of visits from manufacturers. This means that if you are there at my booth and I am with a possible client, please say hi and please, please don’t go, wait until the possible client is finished or come later because I would love love to meet you.
My portfolio is almost ready with a few hard copies as well as an online version. Just need to print a few images, and pack. I am new in this business but I know I will learn a a lot from this experience and I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience. Prayers and good wishes are very welcome. I will be sharing all I can with this experience as my son will be there as videographer and photographer…Stay tuned.
Well I need to finish my booth, so, next time I will write from New York. For now I will share a post card (front and back) and a new art. The post card is part of my press kit and it is already at my son’s house in PHILLY. I just love how it looks! Do you?
The next image is a new art work i finished a few weeks ago. I love umbrellas, I just love them. I draw umbrellas as a hobby and I buy them just because I like them and then I don’t want to take them when raining because I lost each and every umbrella I buy. The truth is, at this moment this is the only one I have..Not Good, we have a lot of rain during the upcoming months…It is time to buy a new one…maybe in New York?
The written words are ” Its raining this morning, the Sun also Shines, the Flowers are Smiling…Enjoy the Ride”.. A good reminder for me in this days that I am exhausted..but happy!!
Hope you like it…it will be sold on the etsy shop as a print or a tile and maybe as an Iphone case too. Did you notice the Elephant Iphone case in the side bar? I have one of those and I love it, love it!
My best wishes for you!
i am so happy when i have the time for mixed media..for some reason i love it but need to plan it ahead…and i decided to establish my Creative Saturdays…so i tried hard to have everything done..the house has to be clean because i feel guilty when it is not ….i need to feel it fresh and clean in order to be productive and make my art with peace of mind…and it worked….. i’ll show two new mixed media i worked on my first Creative Saturday…they were inspired in two tiles i used to make in ceramic and sell since 2003… i will not make them again in ceramic…so sorry for PR Arts and Crafts Store in Puerto Rico who likes to sell them in the Christmas season.. i will make these new ones in giclees and in sublimated tiles….actually i already made them in tiles and they look gorgeous…some stores are already interested …and i believe they will be a hit…. here they are…
Hacia Belén…with Love, Peace and Joy
The originals are already sold…Hurray!! Highest quality prints are available as well as 4.25×4.25 and 6×6 tiles..the look gorgeous…Promise…you will not be disappointed…
Last year I made a few christmas sketches for Sunday Sketches and I knew I wanted to make some cards from them. A year later and with my Sublimation Project fever I scanned it and made this sketch with a font I designed. I don’t know the process of creating fonts and it was very difficult. Maybe someone could teach me how to make it more easily. I wrote Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) and with the help of PhotoShop I designed a few tiles..This is one of them… Do you think it will be good in a card or a trivet?
I will be making a few tiles for the upcoming Christmas Bazaars and maybe this will be one of them. I will make some holes inthem to add a cord with handmade ceramic bead I am making. I hope they will show up great.
I am sharing this with my friends on Sunday Sketches with the talented Sophia from The Blue Chair Diary…
Have a great week! ..Enjoy the Ride!!
Sunday..Ummm, time for Sunday Sketches and last opportunity for this week’s The Summer of Color, in which I decided to participate with colored sketches using watercolors for Alisa Burke’s e-course. Well, I will not be using watercolors again because I haven’t started the course. I am working really hard trying to complete the deposit for my Borboletas Production, in which I am a little behind. (if you want to help, information is in the previous post). Plus, I am in Summer Cleaning Mood. My bedroom is finished, my painting studio, the guest room. Now I am heading to the ceramic workshop, which is the worst of all. And, and…even that I tried hard not to be back in a “real job”:(…. I had to. But..(another but)..it is the perfect fit for my artistic journey and my creative business. It came in the perfect timing and I am so grateful and happy and blessed. It is a great story that I will share soon. For now I want to share two sketches, one in green and the other in PINK and how this simple sketches turned out to be a fabric or paper design with PINK as the dominant color. Perfect for this week’s challenge in The Summer of Color.
And some PhotoShop editing…..
The background can be change to any color…and I love it in white ….maybe I will turn it into a piece of fabric and sew a dress for my sweet Aliany or change it to black for a blouse for me…What do you think?
Until next post…