Tri State Sculptors Association

Promoting public awareness and appreciation for sculpture in the VA, NC, and SC areas

Member spotlight: Keela Dooley

Current Location Boone, NC

Current profession / employment?   Multi-Media Technician - Art Dept. Appalachian State University


Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in your current location / profession?

I grew up in the New River Valley of Virginia, where I also received my BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry at Radford University (Radford, Virginia.) Inspired by my professor, Alison Pack, I decided to go to graduate school at the University of North Texas (Denton, Texas.) I studied with master metalsmiths Harlan Butt, James Thurman and Ana Lopez. My sculpture professors, Richard Davis and Alicia Eggert, had a major inuence on my work going from small scale to large. This August, I began working at Appalachian State University as the Multi-Media Technician in the Art Department. I manage the Digital Fabrication lab and the Commercial Photography equipment cage among other tech duties.

What is your favorite medium, scale, genre/themes/body of work, etc? 

I would have to say my favorite medium would be the combination of mild steel and sterling silver. When paired I enjoy the contrast of the precious sterling silver and hard steel.

My current body of work Trappings, is in reaction to growing up in the south where there were certain gender expectations, stereotypes, and expectations. My concept involves the duality of traditional feminine ideals while utilizing masculine skills and traits in its production. Pushing the boundaries of industrial equipment and materials, I create elegant yet intimidating wearable sculptures out of steel utilizing the CNC Plasma Cutter in concert with traditional metalsmithing techniques.

Who are your sculpture heros/heroines? What inuences your work the most?

My heroines are metalsmiths Alison Pack and Elizabeth Brim. They both create feminine metalwork commenting on gender expectations with the juxtaposition of concept and material.

What makes you want to keep on making sculpture / art?

What keeps me making art is my passion for research of material and educating others, whether it is about process or concept.

What is your favorite tool?
I am a sucker for a great chainsaw file!

Do you have a favorite quote, or words of wisdom?

“Safety is sexy!” – Alison Pack, Metalsmith

Tristate Sculptors Education Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

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