A few days ago, Lucy and I were fortunate to spend an afternoon with Sheila at her beautiful home in Bentley, Alberta. We shared a delicious lunch and then got busy touring her studio, interviewing her and photographing her unique and beautiful work.
Sheila A Kelba-Warawa creates works of art that are funky, fresh and beautiful. Originally from Edmonton, Sheila studied art at the Alberta College of Art and Design. She then moved to the Queen Charlotte Islands where she lived for ten years before moving to Vancouver Island for the next seven years. The west coast influence and inspiration for some of her pieces is easy to see. For example, in the variety of colorful fish she creates.
Eight years ago, Sheila moved back ‘east’ and settled in central Alberta. From her home at the very edge of town in Bentley, you can see the rolling hills and fields of the surrounding farms. She explains how it was the beauty of the rural Albertan landscape that inspired her to start creating funky and unique farm animals, including cows, goats, chickens, and animal women. (Note: for you gardeners, the second photograph of a goat was designed to fit over a square fence post. Also note: the pieces that have cracks in the pottery are from the firing process and now hang in Sheila’s home.)
Another inspiration for Sheila’s work is her beautiful garden. “I love the vibrant colors in the garden… Color is so important to me. In anything that I do, I need to deal with color. I find that it changes my mood… Texture is also very important… I find seed pods very interesting and I use them for shapes.”
Other inspirations of Sheila’s work include works by Hundertwasser. “I think he’s always looking at nature and really trying to incorporate nature into his work and into architecture…”
…and designer Tricia Guild, whose organic work and use of color and form inspired the creation of ‘Poppies’, the chicken women who also function as a vase to hold flowers.
Sheila has a keen sense of interior design, which is very evident in her warm and colorful eclectic home. She loves working with her hands and likes to make her own things for her home wherever possible, whether it’s maintaining and designing her garden, building a bench with wood from scratch, or making clay cupboard knobs and handmade tiles for her bathroom.
Here are a few more photographs to show a little more of the wide range of Sheila’s work. These include butter dishes, jugs, candlesticks, mugs, bowls, and a range of other tile designs.
If you would like to view more of Sheila’s inspiring work, you can:
- visit the Blue Heron Artists and Artisans Gallery at the Village at Pigeon Lake
- find her at the Lacombe Art Show every April
- make an appointment via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to visit her studio in Bentley just off of highway 2 (just an hour and a half from Edmonton or two and a half hours from Calgary)
- if you ever find yourself on the Queen Charlotte Islands, you can find her work at Funk It
I hope this post has provided you with a good sampling Shiela’s work!