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A Little Company Michael & Shelly Buonaiuto

A Little Company


by Michael & Shelly Buonaiuto
Handcrafted in Arkansas

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Shelley and Michael Buonaiuto met while studying sculpture and painting at the University of Massachusetts in 1968.

After a few vagabond years, their spiritual search led them to the study of Gurdjieff, a Greek Caucasian spiritual master, at Chardavogne Barn in New York. There Shelley began to study pottery, making creches and small figures, and Michael, after a few years as a stone mason (in debt to his Italian ancestry) joined her in 1975, after the birth of their first child. Besides sculpting, Michael was a skilled mold-maker.

After a second child, Michael and Shelley began to dream in Spanish, so they sold their house and headed to South America for seven months with Ben and Nina, then 8 and 5, before settling in Santa Fe, NM. in 1984. Mia was born in 1987. In Santa Fe they continued to work in stoneware and porcelain, but added work in earthenware (cookie jars), and bronze (small detailed human figures) and bonded porcelain (this new line of women laughing, leaning from windows, and lovers.) They plan to continue adding to this line. They dropped the cookie jar line in 1996 for lack of time.

In 2006 Ari, their first grandson (Ben's son) was born in Arkansas, and they moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas to be close to the family. MIa came too to attend the University here and Nina and her husband headed to China to teach for two years. Michael and Shelley built a large studio and planted a garden. They love Fayetteville and plan to stay. They have completed a new resin series, which should be available in a few months, and are continuing to work in clay and bronze.

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