In our next Artisan Spotlight, we asked our talented sculptor and favorite steel fabricator, Gabrielle Shelton of Shelton Studios, to give us a peak behind the curtain and tell us a bit about her background and inspirations. We've collaborated to produce some of our favorite signature design elements, blackened steel, on multiple projects, and they've come out pretty darn great if we do say so ourselves. Enjoy the read!
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? How’d you get started in your trade?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After graduating with honors from The Los Angeles High School for the Arts, I got my BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago and then moved to New York in 1995. With a desire to improve at my craft in order to develop as a sculptor, I entered into the construction industry. I worked as a laborer for a major construction company as well as a fabricator at a high end metal shop. In the 2000 I started working on my own commissions and in 2001, started my own metal fabrication business.
What is your day to day like?
I wake up at around 5:30, get my 2 kids fed and ready for school. I head into the studio and go over the days plan with my crew. The day consists of emails, fabrication, site visits and often many errands. I make it home to help with homework, take the kids to piano or soccer and then get dinner ready. The evening consists of shop drawings, estimates and often a trip back to the studio after the kids are asleep. I end up in bed around midnight with a book.
What helps you find inspiration?
Visual art, books and music are the most inspiring things to me. Being around my kids and my friends fuels and restores me. I can be inspired by pretty much anything; the embrace from a loved one, a unique sentence in a book, a Serra sculpture, watching the kindness of strangers.
Where is your studio located and where do you source your materials from?
My studio is located in Greenpoint Brooklyn. I get my steel from Rapid Steel in Long Island City and my bronze from Rotax Metals in Brooklyn.
What's your favorite thing about collaborating with designers and how has that helped you grow?
I love collaborating with designers. I often see the designer as the composer and the conductor. I am aware that my piece is only a part of the whole, but I have to hit my notes perfectly and in time with the other trades. I bring my expertise to the designer's overall vision and we work through the details together.