Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

“Working with the SBDC was exactly that push I needed in the right direction! Not only did the SBDC stress the importance of an online presence for my art, they helped me figure out how I should start making that happen. They were positive even when I was worried and basically lost. Their professionalism really made me strive to get my work out there and be professional myself. I can’t tell you how many times they said, 'You can do it!' even when I doubted myself.”

Sheri DeBow is a sculptor, painter and doll artist, living in the Napa Valley with her husband and five children. Her work is inspired by dreams, books, love for history and general life experiences, good and bad.

Sheri studied painting and drawing and took sculpture courses at Napa Valley College with Carolyn Broadwell and under the "Mad Scientist" of clay, Micheal Maday. She also attended life-changing workshops under Richard Carter at his professional studio in Napa Valley.

Consider the challenge of five children and keeping creativity alive at the same time. After years of painting and sculpting for herself, she decided to stop playing it safe, be vulnerable and market and sell her art.

Sheri created a website and a blog which took her “live.” She actively marketed her work and now has 2,819 followers on Facebook. Her “Ostrich girl” blog is described as a whimsical castle of chaos! Sheri landed her first art show in the Napa Valley, which was a huge success. This gave her courage to focus on her art full time since it was already a passion.

Sheri zeroed in on an emerging art genre, “creepy/cute/odd/misfit/modern meets Victorian dolls.” And there really is a niche market here.

Sheri’s doll characters tell a story of her own life, her joy, laughter, tears, spirituality, anger, struggle, sex, frustration, peace or whimsy. It’s all in the costume and the expression.

Sheri also had art shows in Canada, New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, L.A. and a recent show at the St. Helena library, her own backyard. Her dolls now sell for $300 to $1200 each.

Her creations were featured on the cover of Art Doll Quarterly, and she was featured speaker atCopperfields Bookstore in Napa, signing and selling the book. Her work also appeared in the Annual New Orleans Art Walk at Poet’s Gallery for The Carnival of Saints and Souls.

Sheri will be a featured speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the National Institute of American Doll Artists, introduced as a new, upcoming doll maker. They only feature 12 artists a year, so this is an enormous accomplishment.

“I am chaos and creative, super productive, and a total time waster,” confessed Sheri, revealing her slightly quirky side. “I have a love/hate relationship with my own life and I wouldn't trade living in this three ring circus for anything!”


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.