Beth Shook  |  Ceramic

I was born on Christmas Eve, 1963 in Jeanette, Pennsylvania. Still, I consider myself a native of the southwest, having lived my most reckless and influential years in El Paso, Texas. Growing up in El Paso, I discovered a love for history, culture, the border and the desert. Nothing beats the smell of rain on the hot desert in summer.

I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts from UTEP in 1985. Under the instruction of the most accomplished professors, I developed skills as a craftsman, found a love for clay and a near obsession with the drawn line. That drawing obsession turned to compulsion as the clay became the canvas during graduate school at Arizona State University (ASU). My brief exposure to printmaking processes as an undergraduate would work its way into my clay. Indeed, that near complete English degree didn’t go to waste as my work became increasingly more narrative. Those lines developed into images. The images led to stories. I received my Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics from ASU in 1990.

I am inspired by my faith in Jesus Christ, my environment, people, conversations, objects and images that I find throughout my day. Though sometimes appearing disconnected, they create one story – autobiographic, adopted into my life, my narrative – simply because they make me stop and examine how each experience affects me and those around me. Each encounter elicits a reaction to communicate to others. Because I’m assured that my world view is not singular, my narrative becomes allegory. I invite others to join my story, fully aware of potential conflict and distance as well as comfort and familiarity. I continue to draw on clay, whether compulsively or obsessively, to tell my story. There is nothing better than to share your story in such a way as to find connection with another person, to come to some level of understanding. Well, nothing except maybe the smell of rain on the hot desert.