Stanley Kettleborough, an 8-year-old from Lincoln, was born with a cleft lip – a gap or split in the upper lip or roof of the mouth. At four months old Stanley underwent surgery to fix this and has supported a charity for the cause ever since raising over £1,500 for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA).
Following a difficult year at a local independent school, Stanley transitioned to home education where his parents saw him thrive. The rigidity of each school day left Stanley feeling unhappy and anxious, so the decision was made to try home education. During home lessons it soon became apparent that art was a true passion of his and he quickly started creating masterpieces and began to thrive whilst finding real joy in learning through the medium of art.
After exploring various forms of art from collages, paintings, drawings and even nature mandalas, Stanley started creating ceramics and after receiving support from Lincolnshire artists who saw and praised his work, he submitted a piece to the Royal Academy of Arts for their Young Artists’ Summer Show in London.
The piece is inspired by the ceramic work of artist Adam Bart who creates unique handmade creatures out of clay. Stanley’s creation is called Tom and Ted, and was made with support from Jane Elizabeth Ceramics, a ceramic artist based in Lincolnshire. The sculpture is 85mm wide and 95mm high and showcases different clay types with different textures for each creature. A message of friendship and care is shown through the love heart engraved on Tom’s chest, a made-up creature, who has his arm around Ted, a foxlike creature.
There were over 21,000 submissions for the Young Artists’ Summer Show, and Stanley’s piece was chosen as one of just 280 pieces to be on display at The Royal Academy of Arts this summer!
“It’s hard to put into words all the feels we have right now, to say we are proud is the biggest understatement. This means so much more.” Stanley’s mum Danielle explains, “One year ago school started to become very difficult for Stanley, and double art was often the only thing that would get him in on a Friday. Six months ago we made the decision on home education, and it has been the best decision we have ever made. To see the change in Stanley and all he is achieving is just unbelievable.”
You can vote for Stanley’s work to win the People’s Choice Award 2022 at the Young Artists’ Summer Show on the Royal Academy of Arts website via youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/2022/62172?query=Stanley
If you’d like to find out more about Stanley’s work and follow along his journey, you can follow his page on Instagram by searching @stansmithart