Love Honour Cherish – Catriona Pollard Basket Making Secrets

Catriona 1Catriona Pollard is an inspiring sculpture basket maker who creates extraordinary artworks from found natural objects.

I discovered more about the artist and person in a recent interview.

What are your first memories of creating art?

I vividly remember colouring outside the lines in my drawing book in Grade 1 and getting in trouble for it.

Now all I do is colour outside the lines.

Were your family interested and supportive of your artistic ventures and interests?

While my family haven’t pursued anything artistic, they certainly support me. I regularly rope them into collecting materials for my sculpture.

There was one time my parents visited from the country and they stood on the side of the road in the pouring rain collecting dodder (a native vine) for me. I ripped up my mother’s 56 year old wedding dress for a sculpture. I made one for her as well, so all was forgiven.

What drew you to creating basket sculpture?

For me it’s about the combination of nature, imagination and beauty that attracts me to sculptural basketry. It’s pure joy to pick up a vine, stick and seed pod and imagine what they could be.

How do bush walking and the natural world inspire your work?

Catriona 3A Nature is my main inspiration as this is where I find beauty, peace and energy. For me, the power of natural beauty energises me; it makes my soul sing.

Growing up in country NSW with summers at the beach and every other school holidays camping and walking through National Parks has resulted in a deep connection with the natural world around me.

Are there artists that have influenced your practice?

There are so many basket makers doing wonderful work. The artists that I have done weaving sessions with influenced me including Tim Johnson (UK), Robyn Djunginy (NAIDOC National Artist of the Year), Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Mavis Ganambarr, Meri Peach, (the late) Jim Wallis and acclaimed Australian basket artist (the late) Virginia Kaiser.

What are the characteristics of your sculptures that will resonate with the viewers?

The type of art I do isn’t about perfection; it’s about exploration and play. For me, it’s about being still, and letting the beauty emerge.

I use materials to tell my stories and they represent every facet of me. I use nature as a way to connect with people that goes beyond physical beauty, but really touches them in a personal and profound way.

It’s about seeing the extraordinary in everyday moments.

Catriona 7AMy work explores the concept of holding sacred our link to forests, bushland and trees as our ancestry is so closely connected to the earth and the vines, leaves and plants that grow from it.

What personal qualities underpin your practice?

Cartiona 6AThe type of art I do isn’t about perfection; it’s about exploration and play. For me, it’s about being still, and letting the beauty emerge.

I use materials to tell my stories and they represent every facet of me. I use nature as a way to connect with people that goes beyond physical beauty, but really touches them in a personal and profound way.

Using only found or gifted organic material; I harvest plant material and salvage garden ‘waste’ to weave beautiful sculptural baskets and vessels. Most of my work contains nothing but the plant fibre – no glue or synthetic dyes, and most don’t even use anything to bind it together, such as thread or wire.

Have you established a work routine for your artistic practice?

Catriona 4AHaving a full-time busy day job I make sure that I make time for art. I do make bigger pieces that I enter into exhibitions (rather than prolific smaller pieces) and I am working towards a solo exhibition. I weave every day at the moment (when I get home from work) and on weekends.

How do you differentiate between art and craft?

Is there a difference? My work adds a contemporary layer to the ancient art form of weaving, which is often dismissed as functional craft. My work forces the viewer to review their assumptions about craft and its potential in art. When they see my work, it forces them to see beyond their concept of basketry.

Catriona 2ABasket making is one of the oldest art forms why do you think it has continued into the present day?

The craft originated from traditional methods with specific utilitarian uses such as a basket to carry wood. Now, we can use the traditional techniques simply to explore, play and create. I think it’s the combination of how virtual our lives have become – how busy we all seem to be has resulted in people looking for arts and craft that reconnect them with slower, traditional creative experiences.

Catriona 8AWhat materials do you tend to work with?

Using only found or gifted organic material, I harvest plant material and salvage garden ‘waste’ to weave beautiful sculptural baskets and vessels. Most of my work contains nothing but the organic fibre.

What are some of the techniques you use that inform your artwork?

As I walk through the bush tracks around Sydney Harbour, inspiration presents itself. I see a fallen tree with the roots exposed, and an idea for a sculpture is illuminated. Or as I wade through the rock pools at Balmoral, the shape of the water against the rocks becomes an idea for a sculpture.

What is your underlying philosophical approach to your art?

I use my art to comment on our current disconnection with nature. Walking down the street with your only view being the piece of glass in your hand checking Facebook means that you’re missing the moments in time that nature gifts us; a beautiful sunset, the sun through the trees or leaf drifting by in the breeze. I aim to not buy anything for my art, so it’s using material found in my surroundings.

Have there been any major points in your artistic life that have changed your practice?

Working towards my exhibition has certainly enabled me to take my practice to the next level.

 

What are your other passions away from the art world?

Travel is certainly a passion and I wish I did more of it!

Rose Niland, NSW Special Features, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015

Catriona Pollard’s exhibition Love Honour Cherish showcasing her unusually beautiful artworks that create powerful connections with nature was at Gallery Lane Cove 7 – 19 October, 2015.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.