Maker Project - Thinking through practice

Research Assistant /  Maker

Sharon Adams

Applied Artist

‘Sharon’s practice 

became personal 

when she connected 

her love of working 

wood and metal with 

the inherent beauty 

of simple tools and 

machinery, objects 

which had populated 

the landscape of her 

agricultural childhood.’

Sharon Adams is an applied artist using wood, metal and textiles to create tools vessels and objects which invite the viewer to imagine what they might be used for. Exploring our collective disconnection from making and from the land, these objects have an apparent simplicity that takes time and care to achieve.

Deeply rooted in the farming landscape, Sharon’s practice is directed by her intuitive response to locally available wood, usually beech, ash or sycamore. Wooden handles might be sliced, chopped, carved or steamed before additions in silver for small scale utensils or steel for larger pieces. Recent works have used rounding planes to gently control the profile of naturally-contoured ash branches, and it is this technique that forms the core of Sharon’s response to the Maker Project. Traditionally used to produce precise, repeatable chair spindles, in this instance the planes will re-create a version of the tubular chair that contrasts with the industrial regularity of the original by allowing the natural form of the wood to remain.

Having left Northern Ireland in 1987, Sharon spent over 20 years living and working in London, mostly in the exhibitions industry, before deciding to embark on a full-time degree course at the University of Brighton. It was during the 3 years of the BA (Hons) Materials Practice (WMCP) that she decided to return to her roots, subsequently buying the stone-built house and farm yard that neighbours her family’s dairy farm in County Antrim. The two- storey barn has been gently modified to create studio and workshop space and the old byre hosts pop-up exhibitions and events, presenting contemporary craft in an unexpected setting.

Sharon’s practice became personal when she connected her love of working wood and metal with the inherent beauty of simple tools and machinery, objects which had populated the landscape of her agricultural childhood. Just as she emerged from office life and picked up a hammer, Apple launched the iPad, telling us ‘you already know how to use it’; even the physicality of skilled work was being reduced to a lowest common denominator of clicking and scrolling.

Using Format