About Laura J Shope
I am a re-emerging artist, coming back into the studio after 13 years, during which I raised two sons (with my husband) and created several businesses. I have come home to my Self!
My work is an exploration of the creation of things…the push and pull, opposing tensions, soft and hard, liquid and solid…Every day, I find myself stopping to realize the awe and wonder of the world – how nature creates itself. I recently realized that my intention is to have us stop in our tracks and say, “Wow!” at the beauty and miracle of the world all around us.
I find and follow flow when I create. I never know when I begin exactly how it will all turn out. I start with an idea, or really a ‘pull.’ The material is calling to become something else, whether it’s stone, weaving or plaster. I work in cooperation with the material. I seek to understand its nature, its boundaries, its stretch and I play with the edges – how hard can I squeeze before it breaks? How far can I move the stone to become something else? All the while listening to an inner voice that guides me - that comes from a deeper source than my brain - allowing the nudges to move me in new directions, sometimes even surprising directions. The work that emerges becomes a collaboration between me - the artist, the material and something greater that brings us all together – that sense of ‘spirit’ or aliveness that is present in all things.
Stone is one of my favorite materials. Every time I pick it up or touch it, I feel the pulsation and the aliveness of it. I love the slow process, the dance between force and gentleness. Listening.
I also love weaving forms. I love the ‘handwork’ and feeling the connection to women over the generations who have created baskets for their families and their rituals.
And then there’s the plaster… Plaster is more immediate – it has a short working time and is wonderfully unexpected. I never know exactly how it will turn out and there’s often a little tension as the latex forms I use could burst with too much pressure or for seemingly no reason at all!
I enjoy walks in nature and often feel inspired by the shape of a tree or mushrooms pushing up through the ground. Sometimes the scale is larger and I can sense the forming of the hills, the thrust of the mountains, the constant carving of water against stone over thousands of years. I do not attempt to duplicate what I see, but to tap into the creation process itself. The original energy of the forming, the growth, the decay.
I honor my connection to the Earth.
In 1994, I earned my MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Prior to that, I earned my BA in Studio Art from Kalamazoo College in 1991.