This week's blog was written by mosaic artist, June Martin of MOTH & TWIG. June interviewed Shelly Durica-Laiche of Indio Metal Arts.
My name is Shelly Durica-Laiche, owner of Indio Metal Arts. I’m a welder who designs and builds steel functional and decorative steel objects such as furniture, trellises, fine art sculpture and garden art.
How long have you been a member of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op? I have been a member since March 2016. I joined the co-op to have a local place to show my work and to meet other artists.
What’s your background? I’ve worked with my hands to create objects ever since graduating in 2005 from Portland State University with a sculpture degree. I built naturalistic elements for animal exhibits at the Oregon Zoo such as rocks, trees and vines. Some of my favorite projects there were
Predators of the Serengeti and Red Ape Reserve. I went on to build miniature landscape elements for sets on the stop motion film Paranorman at Laika.
Indio metal Arts has been established since 2013.
What sets your work apart from other metal art at festivals? I often hear that people are pleased to see the high quality of craftsmanship and clean welds. I also hear that people are surprised by how I use scrap material in a novel way. My work is refined, modern and contemporary.
Who are your biggest influences? My biggest influences are Lee Bontecou, Sabastio Salgado, Louise Nevelson, Constantin Brancusi, Barbara Hepworth, Rebecca Horn and Charles Bukowski.
What’s your process of creation? I record all my ideas in one of two sketch books depending on the context of the piece. One is for me and one is for client projects. The building takes place at my studio in SE Portland. Sometimes I know exactly what I’m going to build while other things take years. Sometimes there will be something from my collection of scrap steel that will spark an idea.
What inspires you? Nature and all of it’s creations inspires me.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio? The most indispensable item in my studio is my welder; a Millermatic 211.
How do you know when a work is finished? I know a piece is finished when it makes sense.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have? I take regular road trips to set myself straight.
Is there an artwork that you created that you are most proud of? Why?
I created the Deco Shoe Bench for the entryway of a home in Lake Oswego. It was designed specifically to compliment the architectural elements of the home, the needs of the family and the style of it’s surroundings. I’m proud of it because it’s the pinnacle of my skill to date. It shows how far I’ve come and where I can go.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? If I weren’t an artist I would seek to become one.
What do you like to do when you're not creating? When I’m not creating I like to get inspired.
Where can we find out more about your work online?