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buonaiuto pottery, a little company

Buonaiuto Pottery / A Little Company

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Wife and husband team, Shelley and Michael Buonaiuto, met in 1975 while studying with a spiritual master and have been collaborating on their clay works ever since. Together, they have created sculptures that emanate pure joy by capturing joyous laughter in faces full of life and expression. Over the years, they have delighted hundreds of thousands of people. The sculptures are displayed as artful home decor and often given as gifts to friends and family - a perfect gift: the gift of laughter.

Over the years their work has included capturing the movement and expression of dancers, sculptures of women with mastectomies, exploring different attitudes toward the experience and other varied states of being. In 1996, they began to produce resin figures, to create a body of work that was consistent and affordable. They created a diverse community of male and female figures that could be interchanged, allowing different expressions of relationship. Since they sculpt these figures in a non-hardening oil-based clay and the piece is cast, they are able to work for several months on a piece to capture exactly the expression that speaks to them. Each piece is cast from the original and is hand-painted in their studio in Arkansas.

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"I try to create a coherent work of art that captures a quality of presence. At first the figures were stylized, meditative, and single, but over the years became more natural and relaxed, and I began to sculpt two or more figures in relationship. The figures laugh, talk with friends, dance, commune with a lover. I find sculpting the elderly most interesting, for the character in the expressions, the naturalness of the bodies, the sagging skin of aging, the caring expressed in the faces. The laugh, the joy of living and the adversity, are an expression of the spirit and body as one, in acceptance of this life, and people who view the work often find themselves and their friends in it." -- Shelley Buoniauto