Kelly Thiel, figurative ceramic sculpture
Born in Georgia, Kelly lived on a small farm for the first few years of her life. With nothing much to do, she learned how to entertain herself by making mud pies in the dirt. Her mother taught her about plants and gardening and art, while her father taught her and her brother how to ride a horse. At the age of 11, she moved to Virginia Beach (what a culture shock!) and stayed in Virginia until the age of 24. Kelly went to Viriginia Tech and got a degree in Interior Design. She continued in that field until she moved to Charleston, SC in 1998.
Still interested in design, but tired of the corporate world, she decided to take a break from working and explore other options. Kelly and her mother enrolled in an introductory pottery course at the Gibbes Museum and that was when Kelly realized that clay was the perfect medium for her.
After spending the first eight years focusing on wheel-thrown and slab-built pottery, and only making sculpture on the side, Kelly changed her focus to only work on figurative sculpture in 2009. After the death of her mother, she felt a huge creative shift in her clay, and thus began her commitment to her sculpture.
2014 is already shaping up to be a great year for Kelly, with a surprise spotlight in The Crafts Report magazine (Feb issue), and inclusion in the upcoming Lark Books, 500 Figures, Volume 2. Kelly was invited to exhibit with the Cabarrus County Arts Council in NC with the Human Nature exhibit, as well as in New York at the Ann Street Gallery with the Self-Portrait exhibit. Kelly also taught a workshop at The Bascom in Highlands, NC and is already planning to return in 2015 for another class! The other fun thing is that Kelly was the Guest Artist at East Tennessee State University where she did a one-day demo and workshop for the ceramics department.