Welcome to our second ‘Women Who Run with the Waves’ (WWRW) interview.
CAROLINE BOND – OCEAN WARRIOR, ECO-ARTIST & CREATOR OF ‘GHOST NET GOODS’
I first came across Caroline, aka Kittie Kipper, on Instagram and was mesmerised by her repurposed ghost net creations. How she turns destruction into beauty. She weaves magical sea creatures from some of the most unsustainable and harmful waste we dump in the sea – ghost nets and other marine plastic. She is on a mission to “weave the seas clean”. She tells a powerful story through her art in a way that causes us to pause and think about how entangled our lives, our decisions and patterns of human consumption are with our oceans – our very life support systems.
What’s lighting you up right now, what are you most excited by?
What’s challenging you right now, what are you most exhausted by?
What’s exhausting me right now is the way mankind continues to treat each other. Greed and pessimism makes me feel extremely deflated. I try extremely hard to look ahead with hope and faith in a more positive harmonious future where people care about each other and the planet a whole lot more than they do now. I have to remain optimistic because I draw such strength from that as a concept and I just can’t give in to pessimistic dystopian future thoughts. If I did, I would literally become so depressed I’d probably have some kind of episode, and I’m just not up for all that doom and gloom.
What is it that you are afraid of? And what might your world look like if you gave in to that fear?
I’m pretty terrified of talking to big groups of people, sometimes it only has to be two or three and I start getting jittery. It’s funny because I actually love talking and I’m not really what you’d call shy. I think I just fear being the centre of attention as it makes me anxious. I would love to work through that so it was no longer something that holds me back. It does stunt my progress somewhat, especially when I’m so looking forward to an event but then I realise I will be expected to speak and I just start panicking and have in the past turned things down. It means I don’t get to enjoy the ride as much as I could and that bums me out. But I am working on it, and I am starting to feel less anxiety and more excitement, and that’s what it’s all about!
Early beach holidays for my family were spent in Biscarosse in France. The Atlantic Ocean hits those beaches with its awesome strength and power as the waves travel all the way over from America. As a child I remember feeling totally at its will because I was so small. I can remember holding my dads hand and going out into the surf with him feeling like he was so strong and so fearless that I knew with him holding my hand tight I was safe. Only once I can remember he lost his grip on me and I got tumbled around inside the wave until the ocean spat me out up on the sand in the sun. Instead of making me fearful, it gave me a huge amount of respect for the power the sea possesses and I knew I would love it in that salty cauldron for the rest of my life.
What does it mean to ‘be like water’?
I like the idea that water takes up the shape of whatever container it is placed in, in this way it’s interesting to think that if we place ourselves in certain environments we become like the environment itself. We are shaped by it. We absorb it, we move around within it leaving traces of ourselves behind for a while… And that too, that environment that we inhabit takes a piece of us inside it, it absorbs us. I would like to leave a trace of a smile wherever I go, a little splash of positivity, a little splash of optimism, and a few drips and drops of total eccentricity just for good measure. (If eccentricity is genetic, I got it from my mother and love her for it).
What’s next on your horizon?
I’m looking forwards to working more closely with beach cleaners and marine conservationists to see what more I can do to elevate the profile of each cleaning and it’s positive effect on the marine environments. I’m going to be donating art work to help raise money for the Marine Conservation Society and also working on some workshops in weaving at a local shop in my town. After my art show in August, I got to meet some change makers from the local council who liked my idea of using the waste nets from our local harbour to create recycling bins for our sea front so that beach users and beach cleaners can recycle their plastics there, rather than everything going in one bin.
I’m fully backing the ‘deposit return scheme’ currently championed by Surfers Against Sewage, and see this as a necessity in today’s throw away society. I’ll also keep posting away on my Instagram feed as many single use alternatives as I can think of. We can all ditch single use plastic and use our consumer power to turn the tide on, what has now become, a global problem of single use convenience plastic items. We need to work towards a future where resources are treated with respect. The more people who make these small changes towards a brighter future, the bigger the knock on effect will be. It all starts with us, we still have time to turn this around, and it’s that hope that keeps me going.
Follow Caroline’s ghost net adventures on Insta: @kittiekipper