After receiving her BFA at the University of Georgia, Shirley N. Chambliss worked as an architectural interior designer with large design firms. Three years into this work, she began to consider what her work would be like, personally created from beginning to end, without the collaborations required and enjoyed with owners, architects, etc. Fiber is the tactile medium that she had always felt personally connected to when designing. She then returned to UGA and earned her MFA in Fabric Design. Her thesis show combined both her interest in interior design and fiber with a 18’x6’ portable environment, and included rugs, room dividers, upholstery wall hangings etc. She was then offered a job teaching in Maine, where she saw people living intentionally with crafted items. This aspect inspired her to meld her work in contemporary interior design to include the value of the touch of the hand.
After working, teaching, and exhibiting in Maine, North Carolina, D.C. , Florida and Georgia she moved home to Athens and now works from her studio at the Leathers Bldg. in Athens, Ga. She has had assistantships at Haystack, Penland, and Haystack-Hinkley arts centers. During her 21 years practicing weaving, she has been involved in many exhibits, among her favorites are: Cummer Gallery, Jacksonville, FL; the Mint Museum, Charlotte NC; and Renwick Museum, Washington, D.C.
In 1977 my father, John Noland, commissioned me to create something for my husband’s office. At the time, my husband and I were working for the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, which was housed in a former Spanish style hotel. I had some yarn I made in graduate school dyed from natural sources that related to the color of the Spanish tiles in the hotel floor. I decided to use a soil conservation map of the state of Georgia as the cartoon for the tapestry. This piece was in honor of my father’s deep love for the state of Georgia and the years that he worked for the University of Georgia State Extension Service.