Sharon Adams is an applied artist living and working in Northern Ireland. After 25 years in London, she returned to Northern Ireland in 2012, to buy a stone farmhouse in the place where she grew up. By using wood, metal and textiles, her abstract tools provoke people to ask “what’s it for?” inviting the viewer to imagine what they might be used for. She wants us to remember the simplicity of working with materials, growing food, producing what we want to consume.
What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I’ve never really thought about rebelling. I didn’t like the expectations other people had for me, so I went away and did my own thing until I was ready to come back and live in the place I grew up, but on my own terms.
Do you need to be a rebel to enjoy your work?
I don’t think so. I think we all need to question consumption and consumerism and think more about how things are made and who is carrying those skills forward.
Do you use your own work?
Sometimes, the brushes. And the bigger spades also have been used.
Do you think cutlery can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
Any cutlery that can enhance the experience of eating is an improvement. It might be through thinking differently about the food, not being on automatic all the time.
What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser series?
The inspiration comes from shapes found in gardening tools.
Describe your work in 3 words!
Fragile. Organic. Layered.
What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
I use wood and thorns from the hedges and trees around my home.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve started making bigger scale work and have been learning to weld steel.
What excites you about tomorrow?
Living simply with a deep connection to place.
What has been your favourite dinner experience?
Cooking outdoors with my nephews over a camp stove.
What further ambitions do you have?
To make more large scale work.