I have studied and worked as a geologist and geochemist for 20 years, but have been drawn to working with clay since a visit to a potter’s studio as a child. I incorporate my understanding of geochemistry through working with compositionally-different clays, making my own glazes, playing with different chemical combinations for surfaces and exploring different types of firing. My study of geology is expressed through capturing the movement of clay, testing structural boundaries, and investigating texture.
My goal is to share my discoveries with others through my work. I love the excitement and interest I see in people when discussing my process and how they will utilize my pottery.
I am currently experimenting with sawdust firing. I will test different organic combinations, as well as, chemical elements and mineral combinations for colorings and finishings. I will vary clay types to explore the natural finished color resulting from sawdust firing and test how the natural clays interact with different chemical and organic combinations for color and surface design.
The feel of oil paint and the desire to capture and share what I see draws me to realism. My still life subjects are solid and bold in color, set in soft, flowing fabric. The sharp, solid subjects contrast the flow and folds of the fluid fabric.
My goal is to pull the viewer close, almost physically into the still life. I play with lighting to accentuate interesting shadows and bold, strong colors. I enjoy painting in a way to make solid items, like apples, feel crisp and soft items feel soft for the viewer.
I am currently continuing my study on apples through painting various sizes at different viewpoints.
Shawna Gilbertson was born in Columbus, Montana and spent most of her childhood in northern Wyoming. She developed an interest in the fine arts very early in life. She was trained by local artist Karen Dunbar in her middle school and high school programs. Karen offered learnings in various media and was the first to encourage her to enter her work in juried competitions. She received many awards at local art shows and earned her way to the WY State Art Show all four years in high school, achieving awards every year. She was one of Wyoming’s most awarded students her senior year and the first from her town to receive a college scholarship to study art. Coupled with additional art scholarships and scholastic scholarships for her academic achievements she chose to study art at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. At Northwest she trained with a number of artists including John Giarrizzo and Lynn Thorpe. Training included drawing, 2D design, ceramics, sculpture, painting (acrylic and oil), and etching. After earning an Associate of Arts in Fine Arts, Shawna moved to Colorado where she decided to pursue her interest math and science. She attended the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado and earned a B.S. in Geophysics and a M.S. in Geochemistry. Her training in the arts and sciences complimented each other well and she worked first as a shallow surface geophysicist and then as a petroleum geologist. After ten successful years in the highly technical and fast paced petroleum industry, she decided to return to her original passion for the arts.