Meet the artist – Catherine Carr

19/05/2021

Catherine Carr is a renowned glass artist based in Inverness Creative Academy, where she has held a studio since Phase 1 of the building opened. She exhibits work internationally, teaches, and is a Board Member and Secretary of the Scottish Glass Society. Catherine is offering a fantastic reward for Wasps ‘Art Happens’ campaign. Donate at this reward level and you will not only receive one of her acclaimed glass sculptures, exclusively designed and produced to support Inverness Creative Academy, but you will also receive a 2.5hr workshop where Catherine will introduce you to glass fusing.

Here we speak to Catherine about her artistic practice, her reward offer, and Inverness Creative Academy.

Tell us about yourself and your artistic practice

I graduated as a 3D Designer from Manchester School of Art in 2010, specialising in glass, but I also work in ceramics, metal and textiles. I describe myself as a Craft Designer, as all making excites me. My true love though is glass in all its forms and functions, resisting perceptions of any limitations of it as an art form.

I am known for combining glass with textile techniques such as knitting and crochet to create beautiful, delicate glass structures, in which each individual stitch can be seen and where the openwork of the design casts striking and dappled shadows in the light.

I’m inspired by the role of women in textiles, especially my Grandmother who taught me her skills and whose patterns and tools I now use. I am fascinated by complex, traditional textural knitted designs, such as Aran, Lace and recently Pictish and Celtic patterns as described by George Bain. I am currently researching and re-imagining these iconic designs in glass, as textile, for the contemporary craft market.

'Pineapple 2', Catherine Carr - credit: Sara Porter, courtesy of the artist

How did you come to take on a studio at Inverness Creative Academy?

As a glass artist, I often travelled to Northlands Creative in Lybster for glass conferences, exhibitions and masterclasses. It was at such a conference that I first heard about the opening of Inverness Creative Academy as artist’s studios. It was fate. I was living in Inverness and looking for a new studio as I expanded my practice. I was one of the first tenants. Being rooted in the community, it’s such a joy to be able to walk to work and much better environmentally.

What can supporters expect from your campaign reward, both the workshop and the bespoke glass piece? 

The entrance to the new phase of ICA will be its crowning glory. It’s such an iconic building and when the restoration is finished, it will deserve a grand entrance that an exceptional lighting scheme would add. When I was asked if I could help with fundraising I was happy to agree.

I am designing and making a fused 20cm square piece of glass, in opal or transparent glass, inspired by the varied coloured globes of the proposed lighting and with due consideration to the existing architecture.

In addition, I am passionate about engaging people and the community in using glass as part of their creative journey. Consequently, as part of your donation, I will also be offering a morning or afternoons workshop, teaching you to make your own glass masterpiece, using either a Tiffany glass method of making a stained glass sun catcher or 4 fused glass coasters. I have a rainbow of glass colours and patterns for you to explore.

Catherine Carr in her Inverness Creative Academy studio, credit: Paul Campbell

How does light affect or influence your work?

Light surrounds us all. It’s full of energy and we all respond emotionally to it. As a child I used to watch the light stream through the stained glass windows in Church. It was both magical and meditative, ever shifting and changing under the influence of the elements outside. As light touches handmade glass it’s scattered and refracted along any uneven surfaces making it seem to glow from the inside when lit. I constantly try to master this ability to make the glass come alive with lighting but I am also fascinated by the patterns and shadows you can achieve with light passing through a piece.

What excites you the most about Inverness Creative Academy finally opening to the public?

For me the excitement will be working surrounded by other creatives, to form possible exciting collaborations and cross pollination of ideas.

I’m also thrilled it will be a space for people and the community to come and surround themselves with art and creative activity, feel ownership and be proud of what’s its becoming. Although I make with physical materials, much art is now produced digitally, such as illustration and game development, it will be a place for these industries too. Used by the university, it will have a powerful influence for young people with their education, training and employment opportunities. Alongside other City developments, it will bring a much loved building back into the heart of Inverness and provide an exciting outlet for artists to sell, exhibit and perform their work, becoming a focus for a buzzing, creative destination for the whole of the Highlands.

Can you help Wasps complete Inverness Creative Academy, and open up this incredible space to the public for the first time? Donate today and receive a fantastic award from local artists such as Catherine Carr.

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