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Shirley Jean

Artist's Profile


Materials Techniques and Philosophy

.Polystyrene is better known by its trade name stryrofoam. My art is made out of the stuff they use for packaging around TVs, electronics, etc. The best thing about using styrofoan in art is that it keeps it out of landfills.People in my community are very happy to give me their stryofoam packaging inserts instead of putting it in the dumpster. Thats the main reason I started experimenting with the medium.I have always liked the odd shapes it comes in. It is a lot of fun to work with because of its properties. In the manufacturing of sytrofoam they use hot wire to cut it because it gives a smooth surface,but the gas created by this contributes to global warming. I only use a hand saw to cut it. When using a saw it creates what I call styrofoam sawdust. I mix this with glue to form a mortar to incorporate into my work. The fact that I had suction and vacuum equipment from the dental lab makes working with this medium possible. Variations of paint and glue not only hold the piece together but also work as a resist to protect the styrofoam from spray paint propellant . Hanging this is easy because it is so light.There is no need to use anchor bolts, a nail will do


Graduate of the University of California at Long Beach with a degree in art. I specialized in jewelry and silver smithing.That was 30 years ago. At that time I was married to doctoral candidate and assumed I would always have the time to work with art.Then life happened: a death, a very surprising pregnancy, marriage, divorce. Would not have changed anything, as it gave me the chance to raise a son. To pay the bills and still be at home, I used my skills to own and run a dental lab in my house.It was a guarantied income, with lots of time to spend on family. I specialized in porcelain fused to gold crowns and bridges. The dust from the manufacturing process was hard on my health, plus now my son supports himself. I took this as an advantage to get back to my roots in art. I am so excited about being able to use my love of art and the environment together. My popular 3D wall sculptures are examples of this. All my work is one of a kind, signed SJ or Shirley Jean, and certified.

Dental and Jewelry

Dental prosthetics and jewelry share a lot of techniques and materials: centrifuge casting, finishing and polishing tools, wax patterns and carving, investment and burnout, precious metals, just to name a few. The major difference is that the dental field has a shrinkage tolerance of 0.005. Shrinkage tolerance for jewelry is 2.5. Dentistry is a medical field, and the main focus should be health. Art is about design and making objects that are different, attractive, and eye-catching. Jewelry I have created using dental materials. It makes sense that I would also make grillz (tooth jewelry) because of my background in jewelry and dental prosthetics. I have included examples in my portfolio.

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