VISITING SARA STILLING
FOUNDER OF STILLING ATELIER
Trine: SARA, YOUR MOTHER IS FILIPINO AND YOUR FATHER IS DANSIH. YOU WERE BORN HERE IN DENMARK AND HAVE LIVED MOST OF YOUR LIFE HERE TOO... WHAT HAS IT MEANT FOR YOUR ECPERIENCE HAVING TWO DIFFERENT CULTURES?
Sara: It probably means that I have had a bit of an untraditional upbringing. My mum was part of a larger group of Filipinos, who came here to Denmark at the beginning of the 70’s. They established a strong network, a community where Filipino traditions really are flourishing. There weren't a lot of mixed-raced kids in our circle back then, so I was a bit different.
Trine: YOU MAYBE ALSO FEEL A GREATER NEED TO CULTIVATE YOUR OWN CULTURE, WHEN YOU ARE SO FAR FROM HOME?
Sara: I think the community provides a certain strength and works as a reminder of where you come from. They have always gone all the way with parties, dancing, support and food-traditions. I know there still is a very close bond between the Filipinos that live here.
Trine: HAVE YOU FELT PART OF IT?
Sara: I felt very at home in the Filipino community, until I became a teenager. Then came the need to figure out who I was, in relation to these two very different cultures and also two very different parents.
Trine: DO YOU THINK IT IS HARDER TO FIND YOURSELF WHEN YOU ARE A PRODUCT OF TWO DIFFERENT CULTURES?
Sara: Yes, maybe it is… On top of that I have always moved around a lot. We lived in Germany for a time, so when I was 6 years old I understood 4 different languages and had quite my fair share of things to adjust to, because we were always on the move. In addition to that, my parents also traveled a lot for their work, and by nature they were quite rootless.
Trine: DO YOU THINK YOUR TALENT AND YOUR DECISION TO WORK CREATIVELY IS LINKED TO YOUR MULTICULTURAL BACKGROUND?
Sara: I think it has just as much to do with my autistic, highly intellectual and introverted dad, and my mum being the diametrically opposite to him. She is extremely extroverted, takes up a lot of space, and that whole cocktail on top of all our travelling, moving, and the multiculturalness… Has probably resulted in this kind of chaotic energy, which has manifested itself in me and is now being expressed through a creative process.
Trine: IT IS ACTUALLY INCREDIBLY INTERESTING THAT SUCH A SWEET AND BEAITIFUL GIRL WITH SUCH A SMALL BODY, CAN CREATE SUCH VIOLENT AND CREAZY CERAMIC CREATURES. WHY IS THAT, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sara: Because I can't help myself. I want to strengthen it so badly, but I can’t really do it. To the outside world I might seem like this perfect little bundle of joy, who glides through life without any real effort. But when I sit in silence in my studio alone with my clay, then comes this inner chaos and, luckily, expresses itself. It takes control and fucks everything up a little!
My work is my perception of the human-being with all the; flaws, quirks and irritations, the honesty and both the ugliness and the beauty in all of us humans. That is what’s being expressed in my art.
Trine: YES, WHAT'S BEAUTIFUL IS RARELY THE MOST INTERESTING AND IN THAT WAY THERE MIGHT BE A CLEAR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ART AND DESIGN. ART EXISTS FOR YOUR SAKE, WHERE DESIGN HAS TO BE USABLE, AND THEREBY HAVE A RECIPIENT... REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU EXPERIENCE THESE LINES BEING BLURRED AND PUSHED - LATELY A LOT OF DESIGN HAS BEEN VERY INFLUENCED BY A MORE ARTISTIC IDIOM, WHICH IS SUPER INTERESTING. BUT NOW I REALLY FEEL COMPELLED TO ASK YOU... ARE YOU AN ARTIST OR A DESIGNER?
Sara: I am a designer who makes functional art and I have made peace with the word ‘applied art’, which in a way has been a negatively loaded word for so many years.
Trine: YES, IT HAS KIND OF BEEN PUSHED OUT OF THE PICTURE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE, BECAUSE IT IS ART BUT WITH THE FUNCTIONAL PURPOSE OF DESIGN... BUT ART IS ART AND DESIGN IS DESIGN, SO SIMULTANEOUSLY THERE IS A CONFLICT THERE.
Sara: Yes, but I still choose to put myself there, right in the middle of them both… A place that is annoying for both design and art, and I hope it's especially annoying and fascinating for the recipient. Maybe it is a bit like the way I have landed right in between my, in every way, extremely different parents.
Trine: YES, MAYBE IT IS AN UNCONSCIOUS NEED TO MAKE ALL ENDS MEET, EVEN THOUGHT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY FIT TOGETHER.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME SARA... IT HAS BEEN A GREAT TI SHARE THE WITH YOU.