Meet an Instructor: Shelley Smith


Shelley Smith, instructor for CAM Raleigh's Adhesive Accessories Workshop

Shelley Smith is an active textiles artist, a recent graduate of NC State University College of Design, a studio member at Bonded Llama, and the Head Gallery Attendant at CAM Raleigh. We are excited to have her teaching our next middle school workshop, Adhesive Accessories! Shelley answered a few questions to give us a little insight into her work and her upcoming workshop.

In this middle school workshop, students will create accessories using an assortment of tapes including duct, electrical, and packing It will be held on Saturday, December 3 from 10–12 a.m. There are a few spaces remaining, check it out here if you’d like to sign up for this fun workshop!

Here’s what Shelley has to say:

What do you do?  Where do I start! I work at CAM Raleigh as the Head Gallery Attendant. If you’ve visited the museum you’ve probably seen me at the front desk. I also lead guided tours at CAM Raleigh which allows me to talk about art, which is one of my favorite things to do. I am a working artist and have studio space at Bonded Llama Studios. I primarily work with textiles and focus on the intersection of the traditional and the contemporary within the medium. I am a founding member of the Common Seam Collective, a group of active fiber artists which keeps my plugged in to my community. I also sew freelance for a local band merchandising company, Tannis Root, making custom pieces for bands that want something a little more unique than a screenprinted t-shirt to sell at their shows. But my most favorite job is teaching. I love working with the students that come into CAM Raleigh and seeing the amazing work they come up with.

How did you get to where you are today?  Just keep moving forward!

Why are you teaching this workshop?   I love teaching. I have learned as much from my students as they have learned from me.

What can participants expect to do, learn, or make in your workshop?  My workshop is called Adhesive Accessories. We are going to take an everyday material, tape, and manipulate it to create all kinds of wearable objects. We will push our expectations of what the material is capable of to make something completely new and fresh.

What’s your favorite material?  Textiles! There are so many possibilities, conceptually and technically.

Favorite color or color palette?  I wear mostly neutral colors but I have recently been delving into purples and greens. In my art, I work with whatever colors are appropriate for the project.

Best thing you’ve ever made?  My grandma’s cornbread.

Favorite place?  Home.

Favorite designer?  I can’t pick just one, but I am currently inspired by designers that are using traditional handcrafting techniques in modern ways.

Favorite artist?  Again, it’s so hard to choose one! I admire so many artists each for different reasons. I love people like Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, and Eva Hesse for blazing the trail for the female artists who came after them, and I’m into what’s going on now with street artists like Swoon, and fiber artists like Sonya Clark.

Most important thing to remember when desiging/making?   What you are making right now will not be the last thing you ever make, nor will it the one thing that defines you as a designer. Don’t forget to lighten up and enjoy the process!

Favorite object or tool?  My vintage wood and metal embroidery hoop. I found it in a box of unwanted textiles still attached to a project. It is so well worn, I love it!

Anything else we should know?  I am totally obsessed with my dog and my cat. Don’t ask about them if you don’t want to see pictures.


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