Thursday, 7 May 2009

Artist of the Week - Carole A Sheldrake

Carole A Sheldrake lives and works in Hastings. She makes individual figurative ceramic and mixed media sculpture for either wall or plinth display.

Favourite living artist?
Belgian artist Herman Muys whose imagery, techniques and concepts speak of a man with something to say and the powerful means and skill to express it

Favourite historical artist?
Marc Chagall for his life enhancing flights of fancy.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
At school I always liked art, and at 12, encouraged by my father I attended Saturday morning art classes at Hasting School of Art at the Brassey Institute, run at that time by Vincent Lines and an influential team of teachers.The whole experience of – the building, the smell, the environment, the understanding and sympathy of the art teachers - has influenced my life as a student, parent, teacher and artist.

What place in the world has inspired you?
Hastings and Europe. I like living in the bohemian seaside town of Hastings, but I also love to travel and am so grateful to be living close to the rich tapestry of culture just across the channel.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I work mostly on my own, but benefit greatly from being involved with stimulating and talented friends.

At age 15 who influenced your style?
At that time it was probably Rodin.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
As everyone else who wants their work to be taken seriously, not at all, but it has to be said that if I am asked to exhibit for, say, a Christmas, or a themed exhibition, it tends to provide a stimulus for something new.

Who would you say buys your work?
People like me I guess, who are prepared to accept the enigmatic nature of individuals.

How do you set about starting a new project?
There are so many different ways. In the absence of a specific exhibition, commission or study target, I sometimes take photographs or mess around in my sketch book drawing and painting to see what emerges.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is a shiny new bespoke space in my garden, adjoining my husband’s shiny new bespoke music studio. These replace the ghastly, cramped, cold caravan in which I struggled to work for many years. We built them ourselves and although not enormous, we feel like the cats that got the cream as they are light, comfortable and warm and a joy to work in. We’re also working on a studio in France in which, if we live long enough, we hope to show work.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
As a teacher it was a struggle and restrictive creatively. I weaned myself off a demanding work life when I retired by embarking on 3 years of study which tied me to an educational timetable but it was liberating artistically and now I feel in control and at peace.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
Need, have to, must, want, crave - take your pick (from the Thesaurus)

Would you rather be doing something else?
I enjoy textiles, reading, swimming, gardening, contemporary dance and time in France, but I can fit those in just fine.

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
The mixed media nature of my work has led to investigations into plastics and glass alongside the ceramics and metalwork. This is an area for further exploration.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
In the South East, The New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey

Most overrated artist/maker?
Controversial, but I do have a problem with some (not all) of the installation stuff. Sorry. The expertise, skill and refinement in the handling of media, form and concept in the realisation of a personal vision is what impresses me.

Where do the majority of your inspiration/ideas come from?
In ceramics I look to the work of George Jeancloss, husband and wife artists Herman Muys and Monique Muylaert and in metalwork Lucy Casson for stimulation but I like the process of making to lead to unexpected resolutions.

Where did you train?
Brighton University. Favourite aspects: It was liberating to take a sustained period of time to study for self development/indulgence. Least favourite: I can’t think of anything except that it can be very tiring and challenging and you have to keep faith in yourself.


Anonymous said...

This artist is producing some very impressive and interesting work. I wish her well in future endeavours and look forward to seeing more of her creations. I live in America and will forward her work to all my friends.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this artist's work before - very beautifully made pieces, serene and thoughtful and highly individual. I look forward to seeing her exhibits in the Brighton Art Fair

Ronald Pennell said...

Delighted to discover your work, it is of a very high order technically but more importantly imaginatively.
You are working in a personal World that reminds me of a great Austrian artist-Prof.Mag. Gundi Dietz