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Shenny Cruces

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Shenny Phillips Cruces is a Sacramento and Bay Area based artist whose work is inspired by the act of collecting and the importance of objects in one's life. Having grown up as a child of an Air Force Chief Master Sargent, what one collects and keeps has been and important aspect of her life. Ms. Cruces received a BA in Ceramics from Illinois State University in 2008 and a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics from San Francisco State University in 2011. Her work has appeared in shows throughout California and the United States and includes 2013 NCECA Biennial, A Gilded Age at the Northern Clay Center and the Community Heirloom Project at the Palo Alto Art Center. Her work has received numerous awards including a Murphy Cadogan Fellowship, and a Kiln God Award Residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine. Ms. Cruces has attended artist residencies at CRETA in Rome, Italy and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Ms. Cruces is currently Associate Professor of Art and Ceramics at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California.


The act of collecting is an intrinsic part of my process and my work. I actively seek out objects that were once loved and displayed within the home but now reside within junk stores and resale shops. These objects are now empty vessels devoid of the personal and familial memories they once held. I use recognizable objects associated with collecting and china cabinets to engage with the viewer’s sense of home and memory. I collect, cast, recreate and alter existing porcelain objects into sculptural forms to expose the underlying issues of class, sexual identity, memory and the meaning of objects in our lives. I have a difficult time reflecting on Breastplates, but in 2012, at age 35, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found great solace in a support group where a fellow survivor gave me her grandmother’s German dessert plates and I promised to make an art piece from them. This piece is a protective armor and on each plate I made custom decals of the life-saving breast cancer drugs, the botanical origin of Taxol, and my own mammograms. In the soft, organ-like floral center, I include 10 Barbie legs to symbolize the crab whose imagery is associated with cancer and how cancer cells embed themselves into a body.

Featured Art


Breast Plates
Vintage german dessert plates, ceramic decal, luster, porcelain, lace
28” x 38” x 8”


Tart: Fruit Plate Series
Vintage fruit plate, porcelain, decals, lacquer
13” x 14” x 8”


Temple: Garden of Delight Series
Porcelain and earthenware
15”H x 9.5”D


Bold: Garden of Delight Series
Porcelain and earthenware
12” x 7.5” x 4”


Pleasure: Garden of Delight Series
Porcelain and earthenware
12” x 7.5” x 5”