Meet Shirley Suski
Email: Claylips@ gmail.com
I have been fascinated with making things from clay for as long as I can remember. When I was a small child my mother would make little animals out of modeling clay and “make them talk”.
It was my favorite playtime. Later we took clay sculpture classes at the park district together.
I was born in Springfield, Illinois and grew up in Chicago. One of my early teachers described me as a “sensitive soul”. I took art throughout high school and college and graduated with a BS in science and minor in art. Eventually I moved with my family to farmette in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, a small town on the Mississippi. It was a more relaxed atmosphere and I bought a small kiln and started sculpting. The local art gallery encouraged me and sold some of my pieces. I enrolled in pottery classes at a nearby community college and after a time, opened a small gift shop/gallery on the river called “River’s Edge”. I taught clay classes to children in the back of my shop and wrote grants for “Artist in Residence” programs at my children’s school. The Mississippi River gave me the opportunity to observe many types of birds and wildlife, which influenced my art. In 1998 our old farmhouse burned down while we were visiting my mother in Chicago. It seemed like a good time to start over. My family moved to Florida. I taught myself raku and loved playing with fire. I began to do fine art shows in 2000 with my pottery and sculpture. I took sculpture classes at night at Crealde School of Art with the help of a Cheryl Bogdanowitch scholarship. I took a hiatus from shows for a few years because of some life circumstances, but never lost the burning desire to create. I took some classes at Maitland Art Center in alternative firing and fell in love with saggar firing,
I use wadded up newspaper and masking tape to create armatures for my animal slab sculptures. I like to show movement, fantasy, and character in my pieces. I recently began raku or saggar firing my sculptures and coil pots. I love the primitive look it gives. My bark vases are slabbed over cans. I hit them with a favorite piece of bark and a walnut shell and add woodsy elements to resemble the tree trunks in my yard. The bark is rrubbed with oxides and the sculpted flowers, leaves and birds are accented with glaze. I fire slowly over a couple days.
I hope my art “talks to you”.