Mission Statement

I am surrounded by Mystery when I create my artwork. My gift is that I am a vehicle for this Mystery to be made manifest, in some part, in physical form in the shape of The Storytellers. My mission is to bring The Storytellers forward introducing them to as many circles and communities as I can reach. I believe they have a healing presence and serve to help restore balance to our wounded world.

Artist's Statement
Years ago I read an article about a 3 yr. old girl killed by stray bullets during township unrest in Soweto. No name or picture accompanied the article but I could not get her out of my mind. Who will tell her story I wondered? From that moment on the focus of my work has been investigating the world of Storytellers and their stories. It was 1983.
I worked then in glass, went to wood and eventually to animal bone, a particularly appropriate material as some say that “the stories of the Old Ones live on in our very bones.”
First I made faces of these storytellers, then figures using myths and legends from literature. I developed an interest in culturally meaningful stories from all over and sought out oral storytellers. I now begin a sculpture with a vague sense of who it is and learn in process its character and purpose. I have learned to trust that the story will come to me. Each sculpture is accompanied by a short written version of its story, an original composition, hung next to the piece. In person I sometimes tell a longer version when invited to do so.
I am constantly investigating the power of stories and how they are well told and by whom. Mostly indigenous cultures have carefully nurtured their storytelling history. Elements of Oceanic, African, Native American and Celtic culture inform my work.
Stories teach us who we are. Stories invite imagination and imagination opens up possibilities. Good storytellers can cross the boundaries between the worlds. They are guides to what is both familiar and truly mysterious, as the stories they tell simultaneously seem utterly new yet deeply ancient.
I'll illustrate with a story. A friend brought a troubled, mostly silent teenager to see my work. He got curious, began investigating the figures, their symbols, their stories. He began to talk, not about the art but about himself. Something opened for him. It's a longer story but for now one about a boy who begins to share his story because he saw something of himself in these mythic stories. This is why I do this work. This is what I pursue - the power of stories to enlarge us, to connect us, to surprise us, to transform us. My figures are alive to me, caught in the act of storytelling.

Sheryl Cotleur
142 Bungalow Ave.
San Rafael, CA. 94901
415 455-9119