Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meet the Artist - Mary Beth Shaw

Meet the Artist -  Mary Beth Shaw

We are happy and excited to be hosting Mary Beth this July 20th & 21st at Random Arts in Saluda, NC for her workshop entitled:
Feast on Mixed Media; Explore Nature with Stencils & Thermofax

I asked Mary Beth a few short and sweet questions about her life in Art and here's what she had to say. It's a good way to get to know a little bit about her & her teaching methods.  Not only is she a talented artist, author and instructor,  she is a  business woman with her own line of stencils: Stencil Girl.
There is still time to sign up for this great 2 day workshop but first, read on for more insight on Mary Beth... 

Where are you from and where do you live now? Family?  
I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and lived there (even for college) until I was 30 something and my husband whisked me away, to St. Louis , then San Francisco and now back in St. Louis. He has one daughter, who is married with 2 boys.  We are lucky enough to live about 20 minutes from them and I cherish my role as their Yia Yia.  

At what age did you start "playing around with art and getting creative"?  

I have been artistic all my life.  My Mom, who saves everything, gave me a collage I made when I was 4 years old, ha! Incredibly, it is abstract.  In high school and college I dabbled in many art forms including photography.  I have had crafty hobbies all my life, needle work, knitting, hand sewing, that sort of thing. 

What is your teaching method? ie one on one? group session? lecture?  Hands on? Work fast?  
I do demos of techniques and also show my own working style-this is done throughout the day in front of the entire group.  I also work with students one on one (see next question). I format my classes so we can all 'stay loose' and keep our brains from jumping into the process.  I have found this is the way to allow our best art to emerge.  My personal style is pretty energetic and I think this comes through when I teach.  Although I take my art seriously, I don't take my self seriously and students can expect lots of laughs. 

What is the best part of taking a class with you & what, in general, will your students learn? 
What will they take away from one of your workshops? 
I strive to teach  in a way that allows each person to find their own voice.  Students often comment that is is amazing how everyone creates such similar, yet "different" works.  I help each student individually with what I call "consultations" which help the student to learn how to assess and critique their own work.  And although this might sound 'serious', I've been told over and over that my classes are great fun!

How does your day begin when you are planning to go to your studio?

Always with excitement! My studio is my escape, my refuge, and going there (about 3 times a week when I am home) never fails to thrill me.   

What do you do when you get stuck? 

I am lucky I that I rarely get stuck. The downside of this is that my head seldom turns off, ha! However, if I do find myself slightly stuck, I will divert my attention - cleaning the studio will always do it and I invariably get unstuck pretty quickly.  Taking a walk or meditation are also sure fire ways to become unstuck. 
How often do you teach at large venues - small venues and where and do you have a favorite? - other than Saluda?

I taught at Artfest for a number of years and adored that venue. I have also taught at other larger events like Art Unraveled, Art is You and Squam. It is amazing to attend a large event and realize that you are part of something much bigger, a 'tribe' of sorts.  That being said, I also love the intimacy of smaller venues like Valley Ridge.  For me, as a teacher, the experience is quite special and I imagine it is the same for students. 

To whom do you pay gratitude for your creativity and talent? 
I believe that my creativity and talent are gifts from above.  I feel incredibly blessed. 

Do you have a favorite quote, phrase or saying that keeps you motivated to create? I find lots of quotes inspiring however none that sum up my motivation.  

The bottom line, for me, is that I really couldn't live life any other way than creating and making art.  It is who I am.   
You have never been to Random Arts in Saluda to teach, why do you think that this will be a great place to teach?  
North Carolina is one of my very favorite states in the US and I think that the setting often ramps up the teaching experience for everyone.  I have heard such lovely feedback about Random Arts that I feel intuitively it is going to be fab!!

To register for this 2 day workshop on July 20th and 21st   please email me. The cost is $250.


  1. Some day I'm taking some vacation to come take classes at your store ... thanks for sharing the inspiration long distance.

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