catriona pollard: sculptural basketry artist to hold first solo exhibition
Catriona Pollard is a Sydney-based contemporary sculptural basketry artist. Her work has been a part of numerous exhibitions across NSW since 2011. This year, Catriona has been working hard to create her first solo exhibition Love.Honour.Cherish, to be held at the Lane Cove Gallery in Sydney from October 7th – 19th.
I had the chance to chat with Catriona about how she got started in the unique artistic practice of basketry. I found out that the slow craft of basketry has helped her reconnect with nature and pursue a mindfulness way of living amidst a hectic city lifestyle.
A few years ago, Catriona was a PR agent running her own firm. She felt burnt out, disconnected, and stressed. Catriona says that she ‘always wanted to be an artist but could never draw or paint so I didn’t think I could do it,’ however the need to be creative was bubbling inside of her. She decided to go to a week-long basketry workshop, and that was where she discovered an art form that she felt comfortable in and that should could make all on her own without prior training or study.
Basketry, along with most art forms, can often be about perfection. It’s just like life itself – we are told day in and day out to be perfect. However, Catriona seeks to step outside of this box. She creates work out of found material only, the tools she uses are often her own hands, and she does her work out of her garage. She had no formal training and ‘never had to self-critique’ like those at art school are often made to do, so her process and the end product are entirely unique and honest, as opposed to manufactured and perfect.
Catriona still works her day job, but has devoted her spare time to her artistic practice. She told me she works on her basketry ‘every night and on weekends, especially as I have to prepare for the upcoming exhibition.’ This dedication goes further than just the time spent actually making the pieces. She said that many pieces have to ‘be dried for 3 or so months beforehand’ and that sometimes she has to get up before work to ‘soak some material so that it’s ready for me to work on when I come home at 7.’ The process of creating a piece also involves time where Catriona sits with the pieces she’s found and ‘thinks of the concepts and ideas for a long time’ before beginning to handle the material.
Her upcoming solo exhibition, Love.Honour.Cherish, focuses on the three concepts of love, honour, and cherish, as well as focusing on reconnecting to nature and ‘seeing nature.’ Catriona believes that we are spending way too much time walking down the street ‘looking down into our iPhones’ and are missing the moments that make life truly special, whether it be ‘the reflection of the sun on a skyscraper’ or ‘the clouds moving in the sky.’ These moments are missed because we are no longer looking at the world around us, and thus are utterly disconnected from where we are. Love.Honour.Cherish is an exhibition that Catriona hopes will help give ‘people the opportunity to explore the stories behind the work’ and will also help them see nature again.
Catriona is honoured by the fact that she can call herself an artist now and I could hear the excitement in her voice about her upcoming exhibition. She hopes that after this exhibition she can ‘do some residencies in Australia and overseas,’ however she is adamant (and rightly so) that she will only take opportunities and pursue paths if she knows ‘this will make me happy.’
Be sure to check out Love.Honour.Cherish at Sydney’s Lane Cove Gallery and find out more about Catriona by clicking here.