Cara Guthrie is one of Scotland’s most exciting young ceramicists. She apprenticed in rural Denmark in the studio of Kasper Wurtz, and then in the Lake District under William Plumptre, before setting up her own studio in The Pentlands. Today, Cara is based in Dunkeld in Perthshire, where she studiously throws ceramic tableware for some of the finest restaurants in the country, including L’Enclume in Cumbria, The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh and Inver in Argyll. Her ceramics have a generosity of form and spirit; an archetypal simplicity elevated with a gentle playfulness. These are pieces of character and feeling that one is drawn to beyond function or aesthetic.
What value does craft have in daily life?
Things made by hand have this fallibility to them which provides great comfort and assurance to us as human beings. The beauty is in their very imperfections and human made marks which can't be manipulated fully by machines. We can instinctively feel the effort that has gone into making things — a mass-produced cup does not hold the same feeling as one that is handmade.
I think, as a craftsperson, making things by hand reminds me that we are part of the natural world, not separate from it. I also think that our pursuit of making beauty is us trying (but always failing) to create things as beautiful as what we see in nature.
What does Scottishness mean to you?
To me, Scotland - in its most glorious self - is a socialist-minded country, where people feel a connection and belonging to the whole land. Scottishness is the joy that comes from a sweaty ceilidh, the heart swelling feeling of listening to trad music, the awe of swimming in the cold sea or reaching a summit of a lesser trodden mountain.
Scottishness is being able to laugh off the rain and midges. It is being rubbish at praise and expecting the worst, to then be pleasantly surprised by the best. But this sense of Scottishness can and should belong to anyone who lives here. Out with nationalism and in with a collective multifaceted voice. Out with antiquated views of Scottishness as a salmon scoffing tartan clad man shooting deer on a hillside. There's so much more and so much better to Scottishness than that.