Shanley Smith is a hybridized writer and fiber artist who shares her time between Lake Michigan and the Piedmont Triad region. Through her writing, she explores the queer and the tamed in nature, spirituality, desires, and gender. In her fiber work, she seeks to better understand the implicit queerness of nature by encountering the full spectrum of colors available through natural dye techniques. She believes poems can be formed not just through words, but also through quilting and textiles.

Shanley graduated from Hope College and now wields her pen as the official Storyteller at Ox-Bow School of Art & Artistsʼ Residency. In 2017, Shanley was awarded a Writing Fellowship at the Beargrass Writing Retreat. Her work has appeared in The Underground Journal, Collision, The Blue Route, and Mangrove Literary Journal. As a certified Michigan Master Naturalist, she integrates foraging, identification, and guided nature walks into her creative and pedagogical practices.

In our conversation below, Shanley describes her inspirations, what she has been working on at Azule, and shares advice for other artists. You can learn more about Shanley by visiting her Substack: