Sharon Adams

A contemporary maker inspired by the Digital Film Archive

Film Makers has expanded my practice in a number of unexpected ways. I have a long-standing fascination with historical tools, objects of the type described by David Usborne in his 2010 book Objectivity as ‘orphans, misfits and rejects of industrial change and human development’ and the project has allowed me to make new connections both within the work and in the wider community. I have worked with different scales and materials, and pushed past self-imposed boundaries into a wider conceptual approach.

Watching the archive footage, I initially made connections between the peat spade and butter paddles and seized the opportunity to explore their similarities and contrasts. This resonated with my location near my family's dairy farm, which sits between two bogs. Bog Butter explored these connections and was presented for the first exhibition at R-Space in 2016. Encouraged by the opportunity to develop the project further, in 2017 I have scaled up to life-sized tools and put them to use. In addition to the making of tools, I have begun to explore the possibilities of peat as a material, forming and cutting it when wet and inspired by watching The Blacksmith making charcoal from it when dry.

The process of being filmed both pushed the work forward and held it within a specific timeline. While challenging at times, this has ultimately proved to be enormously beneficial. Realities of the project schedule forced me to show work I might otherwise have considered unfinished, but doing so has enriched my practice and brought a new confidence to my instinctual response. Discussing the process with the other makers has been both supportive and encouraging as the project has nudged and challenged each of us in different ways, that we would not otherwise have been aware of.

Sharon Adams’ practice explores the theme of work and tools. Separated from everyday use, tools become graceful, sculptural objects, as well as being potent symbols of the embodied skills and manual labour required in the pre-digital workplace. Using wood, metal and textiles, she repeats ideas and forms in order to dig into their essential qualities and explore connections and memories. Sharon graduated from the 3D Materials Practice BA(Hons) at the University of Brighton in June 2011, and moved back to Northern Ireland in 2013, having lived in London for 25 years. She has exhibited in the UK and Ireland and her work is held in public and private collections. 


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