Approved: 16.08.2006

Karen Whiterod

Artist, Arts administrator, Arts development worker, Community worker, Gallery educator, Maker

Approved: 16.08.2006

The sculptures are inspired by pattern and form from the natural world; these are explored using discarded materials.  In my former creative life, I was a jeweller; this is possibly still reflected in attention to detail and repetition of smaller elements to build a greater form.  This echoes the theme of power in working together.

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        Artist Statement

        The sculptures are inspired by pattern and form from the natural world; these are explored using discarded materials.  In my former creative life, I was a jeweller; this is possibly still reflected in attention to detail and repetition of smaller elements to build a greater form.  This echoes the theme of power in working together.

        My creative practice has evolved over many years.  Exploring through physical making has been a main thread.  Through research into climate sciences and fascination with the Earth's eco-systems combined with a time of incapacity due to chronic illness,  I've found my emotional and spiritual engagement with the natural world has intensified.  A sense of urgency for change at this time of planetary crisis has inspired activism.  Balancing this with contemplative creativity and nurturing hope is the latest challenge as I seek ways to express this.

        My need to be active and useful around climate change has been a constant for many years, and has manifested through sculpture, participatory art projects and workshops. I am particularly interested in community, the strength and capacity of people working together and sharing a motivating passion.  I have worked both as an artist and in other roles in community re-generation.  Working with local government environment departments, wildlife trusts and community groups and in schools, mostly as Footprint Arts, which I set-up to deliver workshops.

        My artwork always involves experimentation.  Each sculpture has involved a ‘first’ for me - use of LEDs, fibre optics, make a film and community-making sessions and techniques from other disciplines.  I am an explorer.

        CV & Education

        Selection of Projects/Community Arts

        2006 - 2012 Set up ‘Footprint Arts’ designed and delivered art workshops intending to encourage respect for our world and “green habits”. Worked with local authorities, wildlife trusts and environment organisations to provide creative activities at events.  Workshops in schools as part of art, design and technology subjects and special events/projects, such as environment days, art festivals, technology days and inset sessions. With community groups and organisations for occasions such as exhibition art activity programmes, flower festivals and food & drink festivals, mainly in Norfolk, Suffolk and surrounding area but not exclusively.

        2009 – 2012 Artists for Climate Change initiative, joined a group of local artists (selected from a call) who attended sessions with UEA climate scientists and other workshops with Zero Carbon Britain and ANSWER to learn about carbon emissions, tipping points and environmental footprints.  We devised a range of creative learning programmes designed to excite children and young people's imagination and understanding around issues of climate change and sustainability.  We were partnered with teachers and schools to test our programmes.  It was given the Inspire Mark for Sustainability from the London 2012 Olympic Games.

        2009Creative Partnerships project with St Agnes Primary School, Tower Hamlets, London.  A CP Enquiry project to explore the meaning of sculpture and investigate how experimentation with sculpture can develop creative thinking, problem solving skills and confidence.  Made beetle sculpture for Forest School area.
        2008 - Sculpture with Light and Recycled Materials, part of workshops programme for SEAhouse, LIGHThouse, SPIRIThouse: Salthouse 08 exhibition, Salthouse, North Norfolk

        2008 - Artist in Residence - Wearable Art using waste materials, Harris Middle School, Lowestoft, Suffolk linked to Carrow House Costume Collection, Norwich.

        2006 Project co-ordinated with Schools Waste Action Club (SWAC) (Norfolk County Council).  Working alongside the Environment officer on education sessions on climate change and sustainability in four local high schools.  This lead to designing and making art works of the recycling stations at the Royal Norfolk Show.

        2005 - Collaborated with community development organisations and Breckland DC to organise Green Breckland event at EcoTech, Swaffham (now Green Britain Centre).  Delivered workshops to make carnival costumes from waste materials with high school pupil eco-committee and other local primary schools for Watton carnival and the Green Breckland event. 

        2004 worked with the Parks department of Forest Heath District Council on workshops linked to the opening of Maidshill Cross Nature Reserve, nr Lakenheath with Lakenheath Middle school and young people from Crime Concern in Lakenheath to produce images for an information leaflet for Maidshill Cross.

        2002, worked as community artist on Intergenerational project, organised by NORCA (Norwich and Norfolk Community Arts).  Lakenham Middle School pupils created artwork inspired by reminiscences of residents of Corton House (a residential home for the elderly in Norwich), on swimming and waterbased activities in Norwich area.
        Galleries/museums education programs - Outreach workshops for Kings Lynn museum – jewellery related to Egyptians, window ornaments referencing the Middle Ages.  After-school art club at the Castle Museum, Norwich for Year 8 pupils of Earlham High School, 10 week project looking at galleries and developing ideas using drawing and printing to make a suspended artwork in nylon, Sept – Nov 2003.  Fashion Mania workshop using recycled materials with children and special needs group for Gertrude Schilling exhibition at Palace House Gallery, Newmarket, August 2001.  Masks and glove puppets from recycled materials for “Smart 2001” - an exhibition of school children’s art work about their communities at Firstsite, Minories Gallery, Colchester.  Drop-in art sessions for Eat, Drink and Be Merry exhibition at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich.  Workshop using resist-dying to make nylon jewellery alongside Bodyscapes: Caroline Broadhead exhibition at Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham.  1999.

        I have worked in Adult Education Service and worked with organisations to provide workshops with adults and children with special needs.

        Group exhibitions

        2015     Revelations of Divine Love: Creativity & Compassion, exhibition of art inspired by the          writing of Julian of Norwich, Burning Bush Barn contemplative art space, Rockland St Mary, Norfolk
        2011 - The Journey - Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail, Bergh Apton gardens, Bergh Apton, Norfolk
        2008 - Balance, Sculpture Trail, Bergh Apton
        2008 - Norfolk Open Studios exhibition, The Forum, Norwich
        2008 - SEAhouse, LIGHThouse, SPIRIThouse: Salthouse 08 , Salthouse Church, Salthouse, North Norfolk
        2007 - Norfolk Open Studios Central Taster Exhibition, Assembly House, Norwich
        2006 - Norwich Festival Fringe Visual Arts Trail, Boardman House, Norwich
        2006 - Reworked, Oriel Washington Gallery, Penarth, Cardiff
        2005 - Plankton II, a kinetic suspended installation for vestibule of Church, Salthouse 05, part of Norwich CAN 05, Salthouse Church, Salthouse, North Norfolk
        2004 - If Hermes wore Jewellery, a neckpiece-mobile, Looking Over My Shoulder, Lesley Craze Gallery 25th anniversary, London
        2004 - Plankton I, kinetic suspended artwork using plastic bottles, Fringe at the Factory, part of Norwich Fringe Festival, Norwich, Norfolk
        2003 - Ascending, suspended artwork of screen printed digital image, Art at the Factory, part of Norwich Fringe Festival, The Old Bally Shoe Factory, Norwich
        2003 - Enter Here - small paper sculptures, Touring, started at Brewery Arts, Cirencester
        2001 - Extraordinary, exhibition of contemporary jewellery in recycled materials, toured Northern Region ending at Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
        2001 - Lighting Stabile, John Innes Conference Centre, The Food Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, culmination of project initiated for MA Degree to design and make lightwork for specific location
        Previously have exhibited innovative nylon jewellery widely, since 1992.  Contributing to Crafts Council exhibitions - What is Jewellery?  Crafts Council Gallery, Islington, 1995, and Synthetics, Crafts Council exhibition at the San Francisco International Gift Fair, 1997.  Craftspace Touring exhibitions - Bubble-icious, in the UK and to Barcelona, 1998/99.  Retrospective exhibitions, such as, Three Decades of Jewellery Design, Shirehall Gallery, 1999.  International exhibitions - A Matter of Materials, the work of twenty-five European jewellers touring the USA, 1998/99.  Highlights of British Design, at the Cologne Museum of Applied Art, Germany, 1997. 

        Solo exhibition

        2009 - Sculpture & images -Karen Whiterod & Viv Allen, Wymondham Arts Centre, Wymondham, Norfolk

        Education, arts-related employment and project management

         2016 Current -  developing ‘Earth Calling’, participatory art-environment project leading to           installation and exhibitions in Norfolk

        2006 –08 Arts Co-ordinator (part-time) at Weeting 21, a community development and regeneration charity, and community centre.  Planned and delivered one year project to develop arts activities within local community (07- 08) after successful funding bids to Awards for All and Norfolk Arts Project Fund, provided Bronze and Silver Arts Award.

        2002 - 2006 occasional visiting lecturer on Visual Studies BA Hons course at Norwich School of Art and Design.

        1999 Part-time lecturer on the Fashion and Textiles National Diploma and the Ceramics National Diploma Courses at the College of West Anglia, King’s Lynn, Norfolk.  Setting projects related to the National Diploma requirements in three-dimensional design.

        Qualifications and training

        2006 - Bronze and Silver Arts Award Adviser training, The Garage, Norwich
        2000 - Brighton University, Sussex.  MA Degree in Design by Independent Project, coordinated self generated project to design and make “Lighting Stabile” sculpture for theoretical public art commission for John Innes Conference Centre

        2000 - Welfare State International community arts training, Creating a Buzz, organised by Rural Arts East.
        1995 - Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge.  Diploma of Credit, Artists in Primary Schools. Part-time one year, funded by Eastern Arts Board
        1990 - Jewellery and Silversmithing BA Hons Degree, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham

        Grants and awards

        2008     Award from Grants for the Arts: Arts Council England, East and award from Norfolk Arts      Project Fund, Norfolk County Council, to explore using LEDs and fibre optics for            LumenEssence for SEAhouse, LIGHThouse, SPIRIThouse: Salthouse 08 exhibition.
        1997 & 1996 Nylon jewellery and floor lamp achieved awards for innovation at Crafts from Britain       in Harrogate and British CraftTrade Fair, Harrogate

        1995/1996  DTI grants, awarded through the Crafts Council for travel to San Francisco to exhibit       jewellery in the Accent on Design section of the San Francisco International Gift Fair.

        1992 – 1997 Funding from Eastern Arts Board contributed to taking part in Chelsea Crafts Fair,       selected and organised by the Crafts Council.


        2009 - Book: Design & make non-precious jewellery – Kathie Murphy, pub A&C Black
        1998 - Article: Sudi Pigott, Bright New Things, Living etc
        1997 - Article: James Evans, Eye to Eye, [a-n] Magazine For Artists.


        2007 - Carnival Float for Cromer Carnival, Environment Departments of local councils, Cromer, North Norfolk
        2007 - Carnival Float for Lord Mayor's Street Procession, Environment Department, Norfolk County Council, Norwich