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Working with Single-use Plastics has Changed Me as a Maker. Interview with Charity Ridpath by Klimt02

Interview
Published: 18.06.2021
Charity Ridpath Charity Ridpath
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2021
Charity Ridpath. Brooch: Basalt Bubblewrap Mineral, 2020. Fused bubblewrap, stainless steel.. Unique piece.. Charity Ridpath
Brooch: Basalt Bubblewrap Mineral, 2020
Fused bubblewrap, stainless steel.
Unique piece.
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
In 2018 I collected all of the single-use plastic I used to better understand my own footprint. Currently, most of my compositions are still being made from the material in this collection. I have since taken significant steps in minimizing my use of single-use plastic which means, 3 years later, I can finally see that collection of materials getting smaller.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I was a pretty crafty kid, and growing up, I loved to try to replicate the things I saw and thought were cool using what I already had at home. I made costumes, dollhouse interiors, wall decorations, and puppets with items destined for the trash. Actually, my studio practice today isn't too different from those early creations!
It wasn't until a few years ago that I formally learned about contemporary jewelry when I took my first metals class at Texas State University. It was like I found my home. I wanted to create sculptures that were made to be interacted with, but I didn't know how that translated until I started learning about contemporary jewelry. 


How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
I belong to a local group called Ladysmiths of ATX. Through it I have met so many amazing local jewelry makers and jewelry lovers who not only generously share their time, skills, and experience with me and others in this group, they also take every opportunity to shine a light on and share opportunities with each other. It is networking at its best. Belonging to this group has been such a blessing, especially during the covid-19 pandemic. I also love traveling to conferences and symposiums and am interested in exploring new ways to meet and interact with other makers.


Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
I can be inspired by what I see on a local hike and the waste materials I use in my own home, but the internet helps me fit it into a larger, global context. Using technology, I can see photographs of communities in other countries that have been impacted by America's plastic waste. I can attend an online seminar on ecological industrial materials from a university halfway across my country and still sleep in my own bed that night. I can do an image search on a geological formation and be presented with 30 or more beautiful results that help inspire future compositions.
The internet and social media have also connected me with incredible makers, collectors, and appreciators that I would not have met otherwise. It can be challenging for any artist to find their people. Still, by participating in fundraisers, maker challenges, and virtual hangouts, I have connected with people who live down the street and people who live across an ocean.


Ring: Radial by Charity Ridpath, 2019. Assorted fruit containers, recycled silver, monofilament thread, 9 x 7 x 7 cm. Unique piece.


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
I consider myself relatively new to making contemporary jewelry, so this medium has changed how and why I make art, which alone is pretty exciting for me!
At this moment, I am looking forward to experimenting with new materials.
In 2018 I collected all of the single-use plastic I used to better understand my own footprint. Currently, most of my compositions are still being made from the material in this collection. I have since taken significant steps in minimizing my use of single-use plastic which means, 3 years later, I can finally see that collection of materials getting smaller.
Unfortunately, I can’t see the end of single-use plastics as a whole in the next few years, but working with this material has changed me as a maker and will certainly impact the next material I start playing with. There is a discomfort in learning something new that leads to really inspiring and beautiful things. I am excited to jump into that discomfort.
 
Appreciate APPRECIATE