You can also watch her story on the two videos posted below.
Dreams really do come true. Shelley Hoist feels extremely lucky to be a natural fiber artist living on the beautiful Kona coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Creating art has always been a part of her life, though she has not always been an "artist". Inspired by natural fibers and found treasures, she creates sculptural art vessels, wall vessels, functional baskets, accessories (purses, hats and jewelry) and costumes from the sheath of various types of giant, palm leaves.
Shelley's family moved to the Hawaii island in 1976 from a small town in Iowa. Coming from a family of makers, she always dreamed of being a working artist but real life happens. She made her living in sales and administration, and created on the side. She made her first palm basket in 1997 after learning the basic technique from a friend, and for many years made baskets for herself and others, while slowly honing her skills and enjoying it as a hobby. Around 2005, after many requests, she began selling her work and in 2008 devoted herself full time to her art form. She began to manipulate and sculpt this natural fiber into new forms, constantly pushing the boundaries (and the fiber) developing new techniques and products.
Shelley did her first mainland juried art show in 2013 at the Western Design Conference in Jackson, Wyoming and came home with an award in the Home Accents category. The NICHE Magazine (connecting galleries and fine retailers) chose her as a 2014 NICHE Award finalist. In 2014 she showed at the prestigious American Craft Council Show in San Francisco. Her work is in homes across the United States, Canada and in many countries around the world. She continues to expand her repertoire in this unique, sustainable art form and is grateful to be living her dream.