About Catriona Pollard – Sculptural Fibre Artist

Photo: Janie Barrett Fairfax Media

It takes a talented artist to see the true beauty in inanimate objects and visualise how she would use these in a creative form. Her work binds immense femininity, sensitivity and strength. With every piece there is a story to be told. Catriona depicts friends, family and places. What really amazes me is her great sensitivity with the use of natural materials and the effortless combination of them. Producing often tightness in contrast with fluid form.Jason Woodland, Fanuli

I have established a reputation as a distinctive fibre artist who uses traditional basketry techniques to transform foraged plant fibres into organic sculptural works.

My unique sculptural work offers glimpses of shapeshifting natural forms, from unnoticed branches, leaves and seedpods into evocative works that celebrate the abundance of nature and investigate our personal connection to the natural world.

With a intuitive minimal aesthetic, my abstract sculptures use foraged and discarded plant material with traditional basketry and assemblage techniques.

My work highlights the link between raw foraged organic materials, like vines and seed pods, with earthy materials like base metals including copper, and natural elements like charcoal, clay and ash. Most contains nothing but the organic material – no glue or synthetic dyes, and most don’t even use anything to bind it together, such as thread or wire.

Through my sculptures, I use nature as a way to connect with people that goes beyond physical beauty, but touches them in a personal and profound way.

Transforming discarded organic material into sculptures forces the viewer to observe the natural world and explore the concept of controlling it or being in harmony with it.

It adds a layer of wonder and contemplative engagement, and can also lead to a reflection on our inner landscape and the question of what would happen if we saw aspects of our lives in different ways.

Through this reinterpretation of nature, my work offers up the concept that we should actively see nature as part of us rather than simply an object that has no meaning or spirit. This investigation also leads to a reflection on our inner landscape and questioning control versus harmony within our lives.

The forms I weave tell stories relating to emotions, concepts, energy and experiences. They are about truly seeing the extraordinary in everyday moments. For me, it’s about being still, and letting the beauty surface.

Growing up in the country, 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.

As I walk through the bush tracks 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, the shape of the water against the rocks becomes an idea for a story to be told through sculptural form.

“Trusting my intuition, weaving using organic material is about listening to the material. I may have an idea about what I’m going to create and then I allow the material to inform me. I recognise that I am the conduit for what the material wants to become.”

My work adds a contemporary layer to the ancient art form of weaving, which is often dismissed as functional craft. My work gives the viewer the opportunity review their assumptions about the relationship between art and craft. When they see my work, it forces them to see beyond their concept of basketry.

In addition to my sculptural work, I also spend time creating ephemeral pieces as I have an interest in the concept of impermanence within nature and the juxtaposition of society’s current disconnection with it. I use ephemeral artworks to explore these concepts. The process of spending a day (or an hour) in nature creating art that is simply left there to disintegrate is an integral aspect of this exploration.

Predominately self-taught, I have been honoured to learn and do weaving sessions with Jillian Culey (Aus), Judy Dominic (USA), Mary Hettmansperger (US), 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.

My solo exhibitions have been described as emotionally-authentic, uniquely contemporary Australian, raw and visually stunning.

I was awarded the 2021 Northern Beaches Artist in Residence, and have been shortlisted as finalist National Capital Art Prize (2022) Environmental Art & Design Award (2021, 2022), Australian Fibre Arts Award (2021), Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize (2017, 2018), Northern Beaches Art Prize (2017-2018), North Sydney Art Prize (2013-2015, 2022), Warringah Art Prize (2016), Emerging Artist of the Year Craft NSW (2014, 2015) and Mosman Art Gallery 2088 (2011-2021), Little Things Art Prize (2019).

I enjoy teaching creativity and weaving, and run sold-out workshops in Australia and internationally. Click here for more details. 

My work is featured nationally in galleries, high end design spaces, commercial spaces and private collections.

You can view my work at my studio/gallery in Mosman, Sydney. Please get in touch to make an appointment.

Read about my exploration of creativity, nature and the beauty of life on my blog CatrionaPollard.com

See my art portfolio for for residential and commercial spaces.