With an extensive academic training in fine art, Shirley began her
commerical art career as a watercolorist. But one day while visiting
a gourd farm in the foothills of central California, she was captivated
by the variety, shape and character of the dried gourds she found.
This experience inspired her to begin experimenting with this
three-dimensional painting medium, utilizing a varety of techniques
for design, ornamentation, embellishment and decoration.
Shirley introduced gourd crafting into children's art classes at
Scotts Valley Art Center, which she founded in 1998. The enthusiasm
shown by her students for this fascinating art medium has led her to
teach a variety of gourd crafting classed for elementary, middle school
and adult students throughout Santa Cruz County