Sharon Adams

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.

If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
I think listening has the biggest power to improve the world, so I’d teach everyone to slow down so they really hear what others are saying.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
Personally, the biggest sustainability challenge in my practice is making time to do it. But the work I do make uses mostly locally grown wood and small amounts of metal. I bind with natural threads, and I’m planning some new work with wool from local sheep. I like to keep the footprint as local as possible.   

Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
When I lived in London I longed to move somewhere with space to grow carrots. Lockdown 2020 was the push I needed to finally do that, and hopefully there will be a good crop again in 2021. I also want to make more clothes this year.

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 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 pieces?
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 has been your favorite dinner experience?
Cooking outdoors with my nephews over a camp stove.

What excites you about tomorrow?
Living simply with a deep connection to place.

What are your 3 favorite pieces on Jouw…?
The Beak Pliers Spoons by Sophie Hanagarth, the Recycled Double Knives by Nils Hint, and the Glove Spoons by Eija Mustonen.