The Cart Shed is an independent charity which lifts the aspirations of people with mental health problems and learning difficulties. Through enjoying the natural environment, both health and well-being can benefit.
Being asked to consider ‘What is The Cart Shed?’ through the process of making a sculpture brings up many issues to think about.
Meeting Jenny Watt, trustee of The Cart Shed, she articulated that it is important to realise mental health is about people like you and me – we can all succumb at times in our lives when our balance is tipped; when real pain is experienced.
The Journal (2015) sculpture exemplifies perhaps what is less appropriate for this new work. Woodland sites are evocative and the rural skill imagery strong, but a cataloguing of its recognisable assets risks becoming too overtly descriptive. Talking to one of the Cart Shed participants in the camp, it was summed up as having the potential to lack spirit. Sculpture is not interpretation.
Enduring sculptures are perceived as having archetypal or universal qualities; they can be perceived with a rich or strong message.
‘What is’ is not the same as ‘what does’ – that will be important to consider. Conveying Cart Shed will need to show the contrast of before and after rather than just showing the issue of pain or imbalance, in order to show the charity’s role in bringing about change in a meaningful way.