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the artists

who we are



the artwork

quite original

Each creation by these artists has its own voice and identity. And an eye twinkle reflecting its mischievous nature.




look at what we do


A story of love & family

Growing up in a creative family gives rise to a next generation of artists.



art with personality

Whimsical. Unique. Beautiful.


/ / story of artwhimsy.

ArtWhimsy features the collection of three gifted artists—a mother and daughter and a close family friend. Through different eyes and styles, their art communicates their passion, talent and whimsical looks at life.

While Thrace Shirley is best known for her clay sculptures, her daughter, Thrace Mears, has achieved recognition in mixed-media, utilizing a variety of techniques.  

Thrace Shirley has been featured in galleries for over 40 years in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and participates in juried shows in both states, including the prestigious Spoleto in Charleston.

Over the years, as Thrace Shirley's style continues to evolve, she finds that faces and persona emerge from her work—each with stories to share and tales to tell. With her hands, she brings these to light. The work is unique and speaks to the imaginative child in all of us.

Her daughter and namesake, Thrace Mears, grew up in an atmosphere of creativity and whimsy. Unsurprisingly, she developed into an accomplished artist also. Though their styles are markedly different, and they use different tools and media, Thrace Mears also brings subtle humor and undercurrents of eccentricity into her works.

Melanie Ward is also a daughter from an artistic family. Like her mother, she pursues a life of teaching and making art. Close to the two Thrace’s for over 25 years, Melanie creates art that is representational and also often whimsical.

Every piece of art created by these women reflects their joy and their wonder of the world we live in.


/ / our portfolio.

/ / our media.


Each hand-crafted and lovingly sculpted piece reflects the special genious of the artist. Whether the furious birth of an alligator or a hippo showing off his rainbow colors, each piece has a distinctive flair and personality.


The artists bring unique insight into each painting by interweaving magical stories. Each painting reveals more as one looks again and again....


Recovered window sills from old homes have stories to tell. They are restored, painted and serve as a picture frame for the stories Thrace Mears helps them tell.

/ / our family of artists.

ArtWhimsy brings together the unique creations of three talented women: a gifted sculptress, her equally gifted daughter and a close family friend. Each specializes in various media and brings a person touch and sense of whimsy to the collection of artwork.


Thrace Shirley


My life in art began with my degree in Studio Art. In the abstract paintings I created, unintentional faces could sometimes be found. So some years later, when I began my work in ceramics and working on the wheel, faces appeared on mugs and goblets.

Many of my pots might have people emerging from them. Some became landscapes with people and animals. All in all, my work deals with situations and people who have stories to tell.


Thrace Mears


I am a self-taught artist who grew up surrounded by art. My early career in childhood education inspires my work to this day. As a teacher, I was fascinated by the creative imaginations of young children. My art reflects these influences.

My work has been shown and sold in galleries throughout SC for over 25 years. I recently relocated from Charleston to Aiken, SC with my husband, Michael, son, Jamey, and my dog, Mya.


Melanie Ward


Born and raised in Columbia, SC, I am the daughter of a gifted artist. And like my mom, I am a middle school art teacher.

In addition to sharing my love for art with my students, I continue to create works that have achieved recognition regionally.

My muse is my love for life! I especially love to paint Lowcountry landscapes and historical buildings. My favorite things to paint are “Pawtraits” of dogs and cats!

/ / be in touch.

Contact us here.

Contact Address

2335 Marsh Hen Drive

Johns Island, SC 29455

Phone:(843) 300-5483

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