|Shirley, now in her studio full-time.|
Shirley was first introduced to art when she attended private school at John Brown University. She said, "This allowed me to hang-out around places where art was being created and exhibited on campus." Marriage brought her to Hutchinson, Ks where she and her husband raised their three children, and after the death of her sister-in-law they raised her two teenage daughters. "With five kids, no washing machine or dryer, driving a car that I bought for $300 I enrolled in McPherson College and graduated with a degree in History, a teaching certificate and many hours of Art."
|Shirley's well lite studio where colors come to life.|
Her first teaching job as an Art teacher landed her in the basement at Central Jr. High in Hutchinson where she a small classroom with pipes carrying heat for the entire four story building, regular student desks not tables, no sink, one bookcase and one old wooden chest of drawers for storage. The kiln for firing the clay work was on the 4th floor, no elevator. "I had to carry all the heavy clay projects up three flights of stairs and then run up to adjust the temperature from low to medium, from medium to high, and then the custodian would shout 'don't forget to turn it off after school.' She laughed as she described the conditions in the basement, "While the upper floors suffered from insufficient heat, we opened our windows to keep from stewing. Because we were in the basement, the windows opened to concrete window wells about half the depth of the windows, and dirt from the ground blew in on the heads of the nearest students. I was so happy to have a job that I felt none of this was an overwhelming problem. I spent ten years in that room, before moving to Prairie Hills, where I enjoyed a room double the size, four sinks, a private glassed in office, large storage room, enclosed kiln, and individual storage for each student." No wonder I eagerly looked forward to a few minutes with Shirley every day.
|One of her popular pillow paintings.|
|Buhler country road landscape|