Carrie Gault has more than 20 years experience in the design community. Her firm, Happy Box Architecture, has been recognized for its innovative approaches to design and its sensitivity to the communities and ecologies in which it works. Gault collaborates with local artists on art installations and multimedia productions. She is an adjunct faculty member of UNC Charlotte’s School of Arts & Architecture and an active contributor to civic and community initiatives focusing on ethics, housing and the arts. One of her most recent works, a “confessional voting booth” was part of the E Pluribus Unum exhibition at UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery earlier this year. Michael J. Solender
Q. What is your concept of aesthetics in design? I consider myself an artist who happens to be an architect. I’m drawn to the mix of technology and artistry and a handcrafted way of working with materials. I’m not after or attracted to a clean, slick look. I gravitate towards a handcrafted design with personality. The clients I work with seem to want that. They are hands on do-it-yourself types.
Q. You use mosaic a great deal in your mixed media pieces. Why? The metaphoric aspect is obvious – bringing together that which is disparate. Beyond that however are ties to my mother. She was a production potter and growing up I had this relationship with ceramics. A joyous experience for me was collaborating with her on the mosaic for our building. I love the line between manmade and nature, and where they connect is interesting communication.
Q. Why is it important to you to teach? I love to teach because of the feeling I get when a young person “gets it” and gets excited about their ideas. Watching students grow and mature is also rewarding, especially when I get to collaborate with them.
Q. What is it about working with others that inspires you? Actually it is quite selfish. Gaining a larger vision of what I start with and working with incredibly smart and creative people, learning new technologies are all part of my making my work more accessible and keeping me engaged.
Q. You are producing more artwork today than ever before in your career. Why? The last four years have been transformative with the economy and some frustrations I’ve had with my practice. I’m allowing myself to start taking my work as an artist more seriously. The work with my mom and daughter is perhaps tapping into maternal feelings that I’m interested in expressing.