Senior Focus: Shelby Burchett

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To drape oneself in the beast pelt is to accept the creature’s death, to raise his beautiful life up to the spirits, and to ask the soul of the beast itself to fill your heart with its strength and wisdom. By wearing the pelt, the beast becomes part of you, and you part of the beast. Never forget that the beast was once real and alive, with a beat in its heart that matches the beat of your own.

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What does it mean to tell a story?  You do not necessarily need words to tell a tale; to leave a moment imprinted on your soul forever all you must exude is a feeling.  And if this feeling is strong enough, it will carry an unending story in your heart that is uniquely yours.

I seek to create objects that tell fragments of a of story, a narrative, without directing any specificity in the resolution to the tale.  There is magic in reality and there is reality in imagination.  I live in neither realm but always find myself in a strange in-between.

My studio practice focuses on using the therapeutic processes of weaving, dyeing, stitching, and felting to create objects of protection and comfort that are reminiscent of  offerings and curious encounters.  The balance of completely hand-made work in relationship to found objects also factors into the experience that generates when encountering the items that I create.

I am largely influenced by the writers John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez as well as Japanese and Native American mythology, fairy tales, and fables.

My work plays off of the mythical natural world and the history of beasts that are neither completely rooted in reality or imagination.  By creating pieces that interact with appropriated items found in everyday life I attempt to question what relationships these items have to one another and what the story being told means. While there is something slightly curious and macabre in the objects that I create, there is also a sense of spiritual fantasy and child-like imagination.

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