22 Questions with Carolyn Shattuck
1. Name: Carolyn Shattuck
2. Age: 72
3. Hometown: Rutland
4. How would you describe yourself in three words? An artist, a mother, wicked sense of humor.
5. What’s something not a lot of people know about you? That I’m Canadian. And there is a difference growing up in Canada.
6. How do you start your day? I drink coffee and read the Rutland Herald every day.
7. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life? I visited China and travelled to Africa several times. I used Boundless Journeys in Stowe, a fantastic tour company.
8. What’s your favorite food? Sushi sashimi
9. Do you have a day job? Retired nurse and teacher and I still teach when I can.
10. What medium do you work in? Printmaking, collage and Artist books
11. Why this medium? Most book artists start off as printmakers and the idea with printmaking is that you’re working on a horizontal surface placing images, so they’re interacting, and when you tilt the plane to a vertical surface, it speaks of sculptural book arts. So I like creating structures with many parts to assemble.
12. What inspired you / how did it start? I always have, since I was 7 years old, used the sewing machine. I don’t remember ever not working with my hands. I loved art, I loved my art teacher, he was really funny.
13. Do you have a process for creating? I learned how to keep the conversation of creativity, through, believe it or not, graduate school, which was awful. It’s trial by fire.You hang your work and they criticize it. I don’t agree with the process but they did teach me how to stay with an idea and how to move from one idea to the next. I (also) have triggers, mainly with environmental issues images. Presently I am making books about Africa and the ongoing threats to wild animals. I get ideas sometimes when I’m driving.
14. When are you the most inspired / what’s your favorite time of day to work? It’s all the time. It could be nothing then it could be something. It just depends. I have this running dialogue in my head and sometimes it comes forward and makes sense and other times I let it go. I think one of the biggest things artists can do is be in limbo. Which means you have to have the ability to not resolve everything. You’ve got different ideas intriguing you but you don’t know how it’s all going to work and I think you just have to live in that space. Our culture wants to start here, do this and finish. But that’s not the way creativity works. And sometimes it doesn’t work out and sometimes it pops up a year later in another way.
15. Which artists inspire you? Elizabeth Murray, and Jennifer Bartlett are contemporaries for me, when I was in grad school in the 80s they were at the peak of their careers. And Romare Bearden, I love the way he puts color together. And Arthur Dove.
16. What do you listen to when you work? Vera Lynn. It’s sorrowful in some ways, like we’ll meet again, and we are probably not going to, because of the war, and loss. But I was really attracted to that music and I play it all the time for a couple months and then I won’t play it. And the other thing I listen to is African music. I listen to a lot of news though. It’s not good (laughs).
17. What are your thoughts on being an artist in Rutland? They’re mixed. It’s nice to have this wonderful environment and landscape, clean air, you’re far from the maddening crowd, I like that and I love it here. But I think the downside is just access to venues and people to show your work. I get out of Vermont and go to Book Fairs and Arts Festivals and meet a lot of people. It’s how I compensate for living here in Vermont, I don’t think I could stay here the whole time, I need to interact with people.
18. What’s your earliest memory of making art in Rutland? I first moved here in 1978. I only knew how to silk screen. It was a limiting type of rigid process so I started painting and then (teaching).
19. Why do you think artists are attracted to Rutland? Probably they are attracted to the rural beautiful landscape and less pollution.
20. Which arts organizations in town are you involved with and how has it impacted you? Carving Studio and the Chaffee Arts Center.
21. What’s your favorite art exhibit/project you’ve seen in Rutland? I got really involved in the Open Studios.
22. What would you like to see for the future of the arts in Rutland? A continuation of Open Studios, on a bigger scale. Something more like the 77 Gallery situation but with not much jurying going on. More interaction with the public to exchange ideas and feedback.
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