Ceramic artist Kelly Thiel creates sculpture inspired by nature and symbolism. Enjoy her portfolio, and see more from this talented sculptor by visiting her website.
I create sculpture that is narrative of my life as a mother, wife, and artist. My ideas and concepts often come to life through the personification of birds; unexpected forms that brought me comfort after a tremendous period of change in my life. As the story of my life shifts, I find that I also enjoy combining figurative sculpture with my birds for expression of ideas. As I pour myself deep into the creative process, I feel a soul connection to my work that comes through, I hope, in the thoughtful and expressive details.
My sculptures are mostly made of clay. My history in functional pottery naturally led me to clay sculpture, although sometimes, I will include metal or other finishes in my work. I enjoy combining materials, or experimenting with texture, glazes and paints to get different effects. I’ve also started to casting in bronze – I love offering my work in such a rich and beautiful medium.
Not only do I make sculpture, but I also like to paint and draw. I find that the two inform each other and often work together. Interestingly enough, I find that my more serious and thoughtful side lives in my sculpture, while my paintings tend to be looser in style and show my love of vibrant color.
Text always seems to be present in my artwork too. Since my artwork is mostly narrative, I will often journal onto my pieces, or carve in a word that helps express the concept. I started adding words to my work in 2009, and I’m not done with it yet. I still have too much to say.
I have participated in several national group shows and invitationals with my sculpture, and I’ve also started leading workshops in North and South Carolina. I’m excited to start sharing my knowledge as a teacher. I learned the bulk of my knowledge through workshops, and I am ready to give back to that network as a teacher.
As a native to the southeastern states, I am inspired by the sights and sounds of nature that surround me at my home studio, tucked away on John’s Island, South Carolina. Of course, there’s always my two daughters, who are a constant source of inspiration for me and always keep on my toes.
I try to have an open door policy in my studio with my girls, and so far, they seem to enjoy accompanying me in the studio. It makes for a full house sometimes, with my girls and my dogs, and even my husband, in the studio with me. I wouldn’t want it any other way!