Meet Caroline Parrott
About Caroline Parrott
Caroline is a contemporary aluminium artist and she works from her studio in Wimborne in Dorset. Caroline loves working with aluminium… hand printing and dyeing the surface…experimenting with designs, colour, recycling…and working around its limitations as a metal.Visit Caroline’s website
We had a chat with Caroline to find out more about her and why she wanted to be part of the Big Dog Art Trail…
Why did you want to be part of The Big Dog Art Trail?
We have a Julia’s House hospice within walking distance of where I live and as a family we like to support the charity as much as possible. In 2011, my Leido the Lion sculpture featured in the Julia’s House and Wild in Art Pride of Lions art trail in Bournemouth. Then in 2019 I created a Gorilla for another Wild in Art trail when they partnered up with Jersey Zoo. It was fantastic experience working on these sculptures.
Following the pandemic I felt it was time to set myself a new challenge so I’m excited to be involved with The Big Dog Art Trail project in Swindon and with the added bonus of raising money for Julia’s House, a charity so close to home. I’ve chosen a butterfly theme for my Swindog, as this is a symbol of hope and change for many children’s hospices.
Tell us about Leido the Lion…
After graduating in 2010 and completing a display for the garden of Julia’s House for my final major project I was keen to create another piece of work to raise money for charity. The opportunity arose to apply for the Wild in Art Pride of Lions trail in Bournemouth in 2011. I was keen to apply creating a lion with a kaleidoscope of butterflies to decorate the surface. My job at the time was as an Arts Education Manager for a local gallery and we’d had an enquiry about running a workshop with a group of young carers, I went to them with the idea about the children decorating pieces of aluminium that I could then turn in to butterflies for the lion. It was a fantastic workshop day with 16 young carers aged between 5 and 14 years, they printed and dyed enough metal to create 50 butterflies in the end which were then applied the lion. Leido the lion was on display in Bournemouth, alongside another 49 lions, during the summer of that year and then auctioned to raise money for Julia’s House and the Born Free Foundation. He was named Leido after the collective noun for butterflies which is kaleidoscope.
And you also created Zeus the Gorilla…
My everyday job is as a self-employed jeweller and I create some small scale metal pieces for galleries and shops around the country. When I was young I always had a dream that I’d work creating film sets and although as an adult I went down a different path, having the opportunity to create sculptures on a grand scale using my skills as a metalsmith ticks that ‘film set’ box for me. In 2019 I created Zeus, a Gorilla sculpture, for an art trail brought to Jersey by Wild in Art and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Zeus was definitely my biggest challenge to date, he took 5 months to complete with many 6am starts and 10pm finishes. Sometimes I was still in my pyjamas when I began working on him! The response to the textured surface and the overall visual effect of Zeus when he was on the trail was absolutely fantastic. The final amount raised for the charity when Zeus was auctioned off blew my mind!
What inspired your design for the Big Dog?
When I first created work for Julia’s House it was for my final project at university. I’d previously created work using anodised aluminium butterflies and I was continuing with this theme for the project. I approached Julia’s House and asked if I could create a display of butterflies for the garden of the hospice near to where I live. At the time I didn’t realise the butterfly is a symbol of hope and change for many children’s hospices. So when I discovered how well my idea fitted it seemed meant to be. Ten years on, creating my Swindog for The Big Dog Art Trail it seemed the perfect idea to return to the butterfly theme. The colourful metal I work with is perfect for adding a three dimensional element to the sculptures and I knew I could create something that I felt would have a big visual impact for the trail.
Had you heard of the charity Julia’s House before becoming involved in the trail?
I’ve known about Julia’s House for many years. The charity opened a hospice within walking distance of my house and my Mum signed up for their newsletter and has been a keen supporter, donating regularly, ever since.