Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cher Shaffer

“All I have to do is be quiet for a few moments, and the images come to me. Whatever that image is, it has a life before it ever arrived on a piece of paper, or a canvas, or a piece of clay by my hand.” -Cher Shaffer

Many of Shaffer’s newest pieces, both drawings and dolls, were created as a response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, and she sees them as a way to heal the environmental devastation there. Several drawings appear buoyant, but they came from a deep place within Shaffer. “I started to dream that I was in the ocean with the animals, watching the oil bubble up,” she says.

Shaffer, 63, has been making art since she was five. Back then, she made dolls out of clay dug from the banks of the Georgia River. Today she still creates her “spirit dolls” from regional clay and stains them with earth pigments just after they leave the kiln to give them an aged appearance. The dots and lines that ornament their bodies are spirit lines, she says, places for energy to enter and exit the body. Shaffer is a self-taught artist, and she says her Cherokee and Melungeon ancestors inspire many images and forms in her work. “It’s as if they are standing right beside me,” she says of her Cherokee forebears.

--Excerpted from "What Lies Beneath: The Gulf oil spill haunts a folk artist’s dreams." Verve Magazine, August 2010
Read the full article here

Cher Shaffer will be exhibiting her drawings at the Greehill Center for NC art in Greensboro
September 10th - October 31st


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