Skip to main content

Shirley Vauvelle

Shirley Vauvelle is an established artist working from her studio near the coast in North Yorkshire. She works full time on ceramic sculpture and abstract/semi abstract paintings. She comes from a textile educational background, with a degree in Surface Pattern at Leicester Polytechnic, Shirley has been practising working with clay for 15 years and mostly self taught apart from an adult learning course and a week long hand build course. She likes the challenge of working with different clays and building up the quality of surface. In this collection of hand-built stoneware sculptures with porcelain and found material she wanted to create work that can be work individually or as a group, The components, separately made are elements that are interchangeable enabling a playful nature to the sculptures.
The underlying theme of all her works is inspired by the scale and power of nature and how that makes her feel. For this recent selection she was inspired by a recent sailing trips with her sons, observing the land from the sea, drawing the different shapes and geological structure of the islands, how the different levels of natural habitat create patterns and form and how they relate to each other. She also drew lots of natural forms that she found on beaches or on forest floors and used the drawings as inspiration to make the components, The beasts emerged from hours spent day dreaming, sailing from island to island and imagined what beasts could be there or have been there. Fascinated by archaeological finds in particular ancient Inuit art, with strong simplicity of form and surface.Shirley wants her pieces to have a sense of strength but to have a vulnerability about it too, like the ecology of nature.
Hand built in stoneware clay and black or white porcelain clay, Shirley makes her own slips and layer colour, using the surface like a painted canvas. Oxides are used to highlight textures, pieces can be fired up to three times as more layers of colour are added. With a love of wave/weather worn surfaces going back to childhood, it’s evident in the use of materials including silver and gold leaf applied after firing, how the surfaces evolve.