The Studio Project: Charlotte Duffy-Scott

Credit: Ivan Karajz

Glasgow-based artist talks about her work-space, methods and her unusual choice of cardboard as prime medium

Elisabeth Graham
Writer

The Studio Project is a series aiming to develop a profile of artist interviews, reflecting upon their creative processes – in particular, looking at their working environments (be it a desk, a studio, a coffee shop, a stage) and their day-to-day routines.

Charlotte Duffy-Scott – our first interviewee of the series – is a Philosophy graduate of St Andrews, who decidedly turned her hand to cardboard sculpture after thinking about the hidden politics of material; producing quaint characters and animate objects out of something we so often consider wasteful.

Credit: Ivan Karajz

Walking into Charlotte Duffy-Scott’s studio is not unlike walking into a cupboard; it’s small and dim, yet inexplicably cozy. The space is dominated by stacks and stacks of cardboard, and beyond that is Charlotte’s desk — a tiny plywood table underneath a window. Looking around the small room, Charlotte says, “I’ve always got to work in a smallish space. This is perfect because it’s like an annex, and I’ve always worked in an attic or something like that. I need it to be small and with enough light, that’s about it, really.”

Credit: Ivan Karajz

Glasgow based artist Charlotte Duffy-Scott is not interested in artifice, and her studio space reflects just that. In this smallish space, Charlotte has created an environment where she can focus on her craft and get down to business. In order to create a space where she can work on her cardboard sculptures and her latest comic, Charlotte has also opted out of wifi, “so there’s no distractions whatsoever.”

Credit: Ivan Karajz

When asked how she starts her day, Charlotte replies: “Slowly.” Although Charlotte does work from home from time to time, she typically comes to the small studio space to get started on whatever needs to be worked on that day. Charlotte also emphasizes the importance of breakfast as a start to the day: “Either toast or cereal.” As she delves into her routine, Charlotte works on “whatever needs getting done that day.” Currently, Charlotte is working on a comic discussing issues of depression and sadness in different spaces. On this, Charlotte says, “I’ve been working on the concept of containing sadness in a space. You’ve got to put sadness in a room and then walk away from it.”

Credit: Ivan Karajz

However, this project is something different entirely from Charlotte’s usual works — which are cardboard sculptures. These sculptures, caricatures of different faces and beings, emerge from nearly every corner of the room in the studio. They have different faces and personalities; some are mechanised and some are not. When asked how Charlotte comes up with these different creatures, she replies that “[Making art] is just something, physically, I’ve always done. It’s what I always do. . . It’s kind of like a cathartic thing. It’s how I connect or relate to the world around me. That’s how it’s always been. It’s like, I don’t understand this, I’m going to make a thing about it or I don’t know how to talk about this so I’m going to make a thing about it.” Charlotte’s process is one based out of need; the need to create is there, and the space she has created for herself allows her to focus and hone in on her ideas and her craft.

Credit: Ivan Karajz

Charlotte’s most prized tool in creating are her glue guns. She says, “It’s the quickest and easiest way to do anything. It gives you a moment to play with stuff. The thing that’s really sad about them is that when they break they go cold in your hand. It’s like a death in your hand.” Charlotte also discusses the physical cost of glue guns when she says, “I’ve been doing this long enough that my hands are completely fucked from glue gun burns. It’s nice though, because there’s that thing about if you do something for ten thousand hours you become a master at your craft. So these are slow but sure signs that I’m getting there. My body’s catching up with it.”