Before moving to Alpine, Texas in 2004, I used to have fantasies about what it would be like to live in the desert, to feel that connectedness to the earth that is such an intrinsic part of life out here, especially in the Big Bend. There is some kind of mystery in this wild land that evokes, oddly, the “free man in Paris” feeling.

I like lots of texture and clear definition in my designs. My designs are derived from ethnic and paleo-archaic art, with strong pre-Columbian and tribal influences. There’s a sort of post-hippy era influence as well.

The creative process is a struggle for me, a struggle and a joy. The joy comes from watching a piece morph out of a blob of clay into the final product. Sometimes I know from the beginning what I’m going to do with a particular piece, but more often than not I just start playing around with different components, or start sketching. It’s a sensory process rather than conceptual, organic rather than structured. There’s a tension between the half-formed idea and any vision of the final product, and an inertial resistance to starting. I have to give up on the concept of the final product and immerse myself in the process. I think my art comes from hands rather than my brain.

My work is available at CatchLight Art Gallery, a cooperatively operated gallery located in Alpine, Texas. You can also find my work at the Ellen Noel Art Gallery (http://noelartmuseum.org) in Odessa, Texas. In addition, I often sell pieces on my Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/shelleyatwood) feed. They’re all one of a kind pieces.

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