“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” ~ Ursula K. LeGuin
Every culture in the world has its favorite storytellers – those who have added to the richness of people’s lives by telling their stories. But not all stories are told with the spoken word. Some are conveyed through dance, others through music. At the upcoming Palm Beach Fine Craft Show, March 2-4, visitors will have a chance to meet some very talented individuals who use art as a way to tell their stories, including Alpharetta, Georgia ceramist Kirsten Stingle.
“Storytelling connects us to one another and explains who we are,” says Stingle. “In an age in which the individual is often alienated, my work attempts to cut through the isolation by presenting common threads of the human experience.” Early in her career, a fine arts degree in theater refined Stingle’s understanding of imagery and taught her to use gestures as powerful expressive tools. However, “it is through figurative ceramics,” she says, “that I am able to fully realize my narrative impulse.”
While each piece is instantly approachable, closer inspection reveals a world in which the story and inner psyche of the character slowly emerges. “The ultimate goal of my work,” says Stingle, “is to create honest depictions of the human quest toward self-revelation and a contemporary identity.”
Just as we look to our past as a springboard toward a personal vision of the future, Stingle will often combine found objects and discarded elements from the past with her ceramic work. The use of mixed media not only creates an intriguing dialogue of materials, but also informs the viewer of the scope of the figure’s journey within each narrative. “My work incorporates found objects,” she says, “because, like individuals, they have a rich history and that history informs the narrative of the piece just as our history informs who we are.”