Shirley has had a life-long relationship with clay, developing techniques and revisiting them when inspiration called. The technique of coiling still remains her default approach, which allows her to be spontaneous and to develop shapes feely. The forms in her work are a product of mixing emotion and observation; feelings that come from a true source of inspiration: the stunning landscape that surrounds her home in Newton Ferrers.
Her work remains mainly expressive, reflecting that immediacy that comes with true inspiration. As she says in her own words "I always remember at art college that we were told: "before you started a piece, you must visualise the finished work down to the last detail”. Sadly, I invariably failed miserably at that". But Art is not always about precision, sometimes is based on emotion, and that is what Shirley work conveys in its entirety.
Her material of choice is crank stoneware as it very quickly supports its own weight and can take virtually any form and her glazes are simple to complement the clay. She often works with very weak oxide washes, which works well with crank, resulting in warm toasty shades that fit her sculptural forms perfectly giving them the natural look of the rock formations that inspire her.