Dana Shelton teaches Handbuilding in the pottery department. Her teaching style is a mixture of demos (every class, she demos a project: decorating technique, glazing style, or some other pottery related item), hands-on interaction (she walks around and checks on each student, helping where needed, making sure everyone receives the attention and help they require), independent study (each student works on the type of project they wish, whether it be based on a demo she's given, or something else they wish to explore), and humor (Dana feels the students should have fun in the class and not be stressed).
Art in it's many forms has always been a passion of Dana's. But after taking her first wheel class at Spruill Center for the Arts, and following it with the handbuilding classes, she had found a new endeavor. Ceramics was a medium where your canvas could take any shape you liked, from simple 2-D pieces to complex 3-D constructions. And they could range from functional pieces like plates and planters to decorative only pieces like wall hangings and sculptural art.
Her first foray into teaching ceramics came when she filled in for an injured instructor for the quarter to teach the wheel class. After that, she was hooked. Being able to share and pass on the knowledge she's gained felt wonderful. Dana became an official instructor for the Spruill Center for the Arts, teaching handbuilding in 2016. There she teaches and demonstrates many different techniques for creating, decorating, and glazing pieces, from different carving and shaping styles to firing methods like raku and saggar. She really enjoys seeing the students progress and grow, plus, the excitement a student has when they are happy about a finished piece is heart-warming.
Of course, when she's not working in pottery, there are always other artistic endeavors to tackle. Or, she can just dream of new ceramic creations and experiments. She looks forward to bringing out the love of clay with her students and pushing them further with new ideas.
Her favorite artists are Leonardo Da Vinci, because he crossed multiple disciplines, from art and architecture to engineering and science, and Georgia O'Keeffe, because of her understanding of lighting, shadows, and minute details, the ability to incorporate realism into the abstract, and the ability to expand her style.