Artist Profile: Kimberly Winkle

Kimberly Winkle

“I’ve always been inspired by color and pattern,” says Tennessee furniture designer and woodworker Kimberly Winkle.

“My interest lies in the potential of wood as an expressive device.”

 

Green Candlesticks, made from polychrome poplar and brass with hand-drawn surface embellishments.
Green Candlesticks, made from polychrome poplar and brass with hand-drawn surface embellishments.

Surveying the wide variety of creations that come from Winkle’s hands—tables, bowls, stools, mirrors, candlesticks, wearables, and a joyful array of elegantly turned boxes—there’s no doubt that the artist speaks in an exceptional voice.

 

Long Green Scribble Table, in polychrome poplar and mahogany.
Long Green Scribble Table, in polychrome poplar and mahogany.

Following a bachelor’s degree in ceramics at the University of Oklahoma, Winkle found her true calling at San Diego State studying with Wendy Maruyama and completing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Furniture Design. Workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Anderson Ranch, the Appalachian Center for Craft and Penland School of Crafts have connected her to many talented and inspirational artists and endowed her with an improvisational spirit.

 

Lathe-turned Red Scribble Stool in polychrome poplar.
Lathe-turned Red Scribble Stool in polychrome poplar.

Winkle begins new furniture or furnishings projects with preliminary sketches and then dives in, working with hardwood, paint and graphite to bring her ideas to fruition. “Poplar is one of my favorite mediums,” she says. “Its subtle grain, combined with the streamlined shapes I prefer, don’t distract from my designs. It provides a blank canvas waiting to be imbued with individuality and charm through my use of color and pattern.”

 

Polychrome and poplar Orange Faceted Box.
Polychrome and poplar Orange Faceted Box.

Winkle uses a bright, flat palette and animates each artwork with a “visual Morse code”—repetitive bursts of lines, dots and swirls—constellations of elements often inspired by wallpaper or fabric.

Winkle’s work is exhibited widely and is in a number of public and private collections. She has been a NICHE Award winner and finalist multiple times and was recently awarded the 2014 John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship through the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. Her future goals for her woodworking are as upbeat as her artwork: “I want to have a happy, healthy, lengthy career that is chock full of artistic breakthroughs and constant learning.”

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