Carol Shelkin

Posted by Sally Kinsey on

     It had been about three years that I had been creating mosaics before I took my first mosaic class, and it was with Carol Shelkin through Ceil Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina. I spent several days with some of the most welcoming and fun ladies, sharing out common passion for mosaic art. It was life changing for me! 

     Many of the basics I learned in high school and the few college art classes I had in the past, were reintroduced by Carol, and took hold. It was a reawakening of the creative senses, which is exactly what I needed! After the last session, Carol took the time to meet with each and every student in a private critique, which was the first I had had in over 20 years. Again, exactly what I needed. An honest, insightful, and caring review of the progress I had made and skills I had (or had not) exhibited during the few days under Carol’s tutelage. It gave me confidence, insight from someone else’s educated perspective, as well as direction and intention.

     There are many of you reading this that have most likely taken one of Carol’s classes and can identify with what I have shared. Carol is not simply a teacher, but an educator. There is a difference; like there is a difference between art and craft. I think we all have our own definitions, and I definitely have mine, but then this article is not all about me! It is for you to get to know Carol just a teeny bit better, and I hope you do more than that. Take a class from Carol whether you have already or not, and you will leave a changed, and hopefully better, artist and person.
LMA: How long have you been creating mosaic art?

Carol: I've always been in the arts. Having been a painter and potter, my first mosaic project was creating a mailbox (still outside of my house) using the discarded shards of pottery from my broken pieces, probably in 2001. Then, fast forward to 2008, I created a mosaic for the Steve Irwin Mosaic Tribute Project that was set to Australia with my students on mesh. This was a group project with my Arts Nursery School. Then, I didn't make another until 2009 using stained glass and then, I was hooked!
LMA: I know you offer classes in mosaic art, what do hope your students take away from your class experience? 

Carol: Each student has a different reason for taking my class and having everyone curious, motivated and inspired is always my intention. I also would like my students to learn personal critique approaches that are discovery based and encouraging. In this way, they can continue to grow after the workshop and independent of the workshop.

LMA: Do you practice any other art forms on a regular basis or have a hobby when not making mosaics? 
Carol: I paint, love to travel and work with beads to make jewelry.
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists in your work?

Carol: The first one that comes to mind, was a painting teacher I had in school: Louise Clement-Hoff. She challenged me to use unexpected color, which is a staple in my work and teaching. I'm greatly influenced with post-impressionist and impressionist paintings with bold color and dramatic brush strokes, which I can easily translate and be influenced to create mosaic. To name a few, artists like Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne would be my favorites. 

LMA: Attach 3 of your favorite pieces you have created: Please tell us what they mean to you… 

Carol: I often create portraits of people in my life that I cherish and impress me in some way.
1. Thinking: This is a portrait of my youngest daughter, Marni. She was in school and studying all the time and this is the position I saw her in most of the time: thinking and studying.
2. Beautiful Day: This is a mosaic of my first granddaughter, Lola.
3. Happy Girl: This is a mosaic of my second granddaughter: Lily Jo. What more can I say about the grandchildren? In all of the mosaics, I started with a sketch, a photograph and a painting. After rendering a painting I create the mosaics.
LMA: Tell us a little about your studio and attach a photo or 2 of your studio space:

Carol: As you walk into my studio, there's a sign that says it all: "My Paradise". ( no photo, sorry - I'm out of town.)
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings, and why?

Carol: This quote has always affected me - it just touches every level, every person - if you allow it to… no matter where you are. "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." - Booker T. Washington
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?

Carol: Keep making art, keep going, be persistent, never quit making art and have patience. Okay - that's not one-single bit of advice.
LMA: Tell us about your single greatest mosaic moment: 

Carol: I can't say that I have ONE moment. I am continuously so honored and humbled to be supported, recognized and respected by my peers, friends, students and family with what I love: to teach art and see my students do better and create my own artworks.
animals colorful millefiori mosaic people portraits stained glass

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