Kelly ThielBorn in Georgia, Kelly lived on a small farm for the first few years of her life. With nothing much to do, she learned how to entertain herself by  making mud pies in the dirt.  Her mother taught her about plants and gardening and art, while her father taught her and her brother how to ride a horse. At the age of 11, she moved to Virginia Beach (what a culture shock!) and stayed in Virginia until the age of 24. Kelly went to Viriginia Tech and got a degree in Interior Design. She continued in that field until she moved to Charleston, SC in 1998.

Still interested in design, but tired of the corporate world, she decided to take a break from working and explore other options. Kelly and her mother enrolled in an introductory pottery course at the Gibbes Museum and that was when Kelly realized that clay was the perfect medium for her.

After spending the first eight years focusing on wheel-thrown and slab-built pottery, and only making sculpture on the side, Kelly changed her focus to only work on figurative sculpture in 2009.  After the death of her mother, she felt a huge creative shift in her clay, and  thus began her commitment to her sculpture.

Kelly’s work has been on the cover of Handmade Business, and was also included in the 500 Figures series by Lark Books.  She teaches workshops locally in Central Oregon as well on the East Coast, where she used to live.  She currently shows her work across the nation, and is also now represented by a gallery in the U.K. called Kunsthuis Gallery, which focuses on ceramics and sculptures.  Kelly considers herself primarily a sculptor, but she also paints on the side, and feels that the two mediums compliment each other.  She is currently involved in a handful of  different exhibitions in the pacific northwest with her paintings and sculptures.

In 2014, Kelly and her family made a giant shift in their lives, and moved the family to central Oregon.  They packed up three dogs, two kids, two studios (one clay and one photography), and headed out west!  In Oregon, Kelly found an easy transition and has been loving it ever since.  She has since opened another business called The Wilds, where she and two other co-founders have a hybrid coworking business that is dedicated to the creatives of Bend, Oregon.  Kelly’s personal studio is there at The Wilds, and she can often be found there, teaching a class, or enjoying some of the amazing craft beer Bend is known for!