Weaving art from green waste has led to high acclaim and designer demand for this talented local.
Creativity can come in all guises and for local artist Catriona Pollard, her inspiration is often found in the humble green waste. For the last eight years, Catriona has been building her portfolio using materials that we often take for granted. Her organic sculptures are made from a mixture of materials that can be found on our doorstep – jacaranda leaves, driftwood, discarded copper wire and many other everyday objects.
“Don’t go for a walk with me!” laughs Catriona. “I’m an absolute nightmare. I pick up all sorts of things and my storage is full of bit and pieces that I might find a use for.”
Catriona’s love for foraging and using this eclectic mix of nature’s beauty has now blossomed into a career as an artist. She’s onto her sixth solo exhibition and her striking pieces are well loved by interior designers and collectors alike looking for unusual and thought-provoking work with a strong connection to nature.
Catriona’s creative journey didn’t start in the traditional way. “I never really considered myself to be creative. I can hardly draw a stick figure so I thought that meant I couldn’t be an artist,” recalls Catriona. It was by chance, after a stressful period at work almost a decade ago, that Catriona happened on a basketry course and it was there that she found her passion and she has not looked back since.
“I still run my own PR agency but I’m beginning to devote more and more of my time to my art,” says Catriona. This includes a number of exhibitions, including a recent solo show at Sydney Road Gallery Seaforth and also teaching her craft through a number of highly interactive workshops in her showroom at Neutral Bay.
Based in her Neutral Bay studio, Catriona is an engaging and warm teacher. She is willing to share her journey, her skills and the beauty of the imperfect materials she works with every day. In her Random Weave Basketry workshop, we learn how to make a basket or wall hanging from Bangalow Palm inflorescence (yes, I did have to look that up – it’s the beardy stuff that hangs from the magnificent palms that dot the Lower North Shore skyline).
The inflorescence is dried, rehydrated and then Catriona demonstrates her weaving technique; her magical hands telling a story between the opposing strands of greenery. When it’s our turn to have a go, the natural material is more pliable than imagined and the weaving a soothing and meditative exercise. After a few hours under Catriona’s guidance we walk away with a sculpture that would not look out of place in a showroom, if a little more rustic than our teacher’s work.
“The aim of my courses is to get participants to tap into their own creativity, regardless of whether they think they are creative or not,” says Catriona. “An added bonus is that you can walk away with a beautiful piece in that time. And I promise you, after a day spent with me you won’t be able to look at the green waste in the same way!”
Catriona’s workshops are run one Sunday a month – next date 27 November. Her showroom is open Monday-Friday (or by appointment) at Level 1, 4 Young St Neutral Bay.
For booking and more information: TheArtofWeaving.com.au