Kicki Masthem’s character sculptures are so popular with the people who own them that they often send her photographs showing how a particular sculpture has become part of their home. Exploring how people use gesture as a means of expression and as a way to create their own personal space as they navigate through their daily lives is what inspires Masthem to create sculptures like Oscar, Charles and Luke (below, left to right). The ideas for her figures come from everywhere. “Standing in checkout lines at stores, I check out people’s expressions,” she says. “I notice how they hold themselves, and I sense how they feel about themselves in the world.” Masthem, 44, was born and raised in Kalmar, Sweden, a small town on the Baltic coast.
For storyteller and ceramic artist Baba Wague Diakite, art began at home in the Republic of Mali in Western Africa. “I grew up in a very small town, where my education began through storytelling,” he says. “My grandmother said you needed to be educated before you went to school, and she believed her stories delivered an understanding that nothing else could. Her stories were the beginning of my artistic life.”
With a mother who was an artist, Leah Nobilette says creating things was an integral part of her childhood. "My mother introduced me to art early, and we were always either taking art classes or just creating things," says the ceramic artist. "I’ve always loved making things. When I was a child, I was really into making little pieces of furniture out of sticks. I called it Fairy Furniture. I’ve always been very tactile in my art. I like art where you can touch the materials."