Maker Reflections: Caroline Sharp

By Christiane Eck

Maker Reflections: Caroline Sharp
Our new CAA web feature, Maker Reflections, foregrounds our members and their thoughts on making and creativity.

In the second instalment of our maker reflections, Caroline Sharp talks about how she experienced the last year.  

With this feature, we wanted to give our maker members an opportunity to express and share their thoughts on materials and making. In addition, we asked them to reflect on their place in the creative landscape which surrounds us. Given the current circumstances, we thought it was appropriate to launch this series with reflections focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown and creativity. To state the obvious – these are uncertain times and many of us have found ourselves reassessing myriad aspects of our own lives. What will life be like in future? We can’t know but we can ask questions and reflect.

Over time, we will open up the discussion to include more general thoughts on creative life and to explore different topical themes in depth. We will try to include responses from the widest possible range of CAA’s maker members. Thereby creating a kaleidoscopic record of diverse views on what it is like to be a professional craftsperson, artist or designer in Britain today.

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Connected to Nature by Caroline Sharp

The events of 2020 have given us all a chance to pause and reflect.

On a personal level, the pandemic has affected me greatly – as with everyone – not being able to see family and friends has been mentally challenging, and also I have been mostly shielding due to an underlying health condition. On another level, my everyday life has not changed that much as I normally spend a lot of time at home and am quite hermit-like!

Early on, I thought I would be able to carry on as normal creatively, but the motivation was not there. This lasted for a couple of months, and then I felt able to start again. I am so very lucky to have a studio at the end of the garden. When I am in there, I can shut out all that is going on outside. Being able to make and be creative has been essential for me as a coping mechanism against the uncertainties and challenges this year. I am certain that, as we come through the other side of this pandemic, the value of being creative will be at the forefront of our collective and individual healing.

During the first lockdown in spring 2020, many of us became more aware of the natural world. My practice has always been about my connection to nature’s seasonal shifts, and the pandemic has further heightened and reinforced my sustainable approach. My making is slow, seasonal and meditative: the growing and gathering of coppiced material, the weaving of layers, the hand coiling of the clay.

My woven seedpod forms and clay and wood seeds are in essence about latent and potential energy: energy within the soil and earth transformed into seeds and emerging growth. Stems are left exposed, at the same time respecting the character of the material and suggesting both fragility and transience.

I am hopeful that more people have slowed, observed and felt more connected to the rhythm of the earth during this troubling time, and that this will translate into the urgent action needed to tackle climate change!

I hope.

December 2020

Caroline Sharp
Portrait of Caroline Sharp in her studio, by Nigel Sharp.

Caroline Sharp has had a successful career as a landscape architect and now as an established artist.

Residencies and commissions for site-specific installations in which the importance of form and context are paramount have been a large part of her practice. In her sculptural and assemblage works, she takes the natural world as a starting point using a variety of natural materials including her own charcoal, clay, chalk, willow, poplar, birch, hazel, dogwood stems and leaves.

Much of her woven work is strongly influenced by natural form, containment and movement. More recently she has explored ideas in response to the craft of charcoal burning and her autobiographical journey in relation to walking the land and the memory of place. Her main focus is on sustainability and treading the land gently.

Learn more about Caroline Sharp’s work and buy pieces online  here.

 


The home of fine British craft since 1948: Contemporary Applied Arts has championed and promoted excellence in British craft for 70 years. Founded in 1948 and a registered charity since 1967, we are a membership gallery that represents some of the most talented and skilled applied artists working in Britain today.

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