Susan Smyly works primarily from life, rarely from a photo.

These works are predicated on the belief that all individuals are unique - a bundle of heritage, upbringing and character traits which form a being, a "personality," an essence of some kind.

Some of the pieces are commissions, but many of the them are simply people whom Smyly has asked to pose for her, people whose essence she felt compelled to capture.

There are busts and bas-reliefs, the latter of which, Smyly likes to say, constitute a "magical place" for the sculptor, where the third dimension meets the second, where the drawing board joins with the cool, soft clay.

- Mark Rykoff, June 2005