Artist emerges from the ashes
By LEE McDOUGALL
MUCH like the mythical phoenix, Jeramie Carter has risen from the ashes to rebuild his life and career.
In April last year, fire destroyed the Nana Glen jeweller's workshop, taking with it all the tools of his craft and a lifetime of sketches.
Two months later, friends rallied together to hold a community fundraising event with $10,000 raised to help the popular North Coast jeweller back on his feet.
"I have a strong sense that I now have to answer to the community," Jeramie said.
"I sort of use it as a motivation. It keeps me going."
And 'keeping going' is perhaps what Jeramie has done best.
As the fire destroyed all of his jewellery tools, out of necessity he switched to sculpting.
"I lost everything in the fire so from that, I went into sculpture and in late December (2005) I held my first sculpture exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery," he said.
It was this exhibition that has resulted in Jeramie now embarking on a major career highlight.
"This lady (Nan Bray) was travelling through Grafton and went to the gallery for lunch," Jeramie said.
"She's not into art but went for lunch and then walked through the gallery to look at my exhibition. Apparently she burst into tears as she was so moved by my pieces."
Ms Bray bought two of Jeramie's pieces, then travelled to Nana Glen to meet the artist in person to present him with a proposal ? fly to Tasmania and create a sculpture park on her 100-acre property in Oatlands, 79km north of Hobart.
"My whole career to this point has been experimenting," Jeramie said.
"One of my biggest problems is that I can't conform so I have just experimented with different forms and different things to go my own way."
The fact that it was nature ? more specifically seed pods ? that was the inspiration for Jeramie's first exhibition as a sculptor, rising out of the fire, is not lost on the casual observer.
"I started making pod jewellery, seed pods and cocoons. It started off as a good idea and it just kept growing," Jeramie said.
Jeramie will fly to Tasmania in July and then return to the Coffs Coast briefly to prepare for his next major exhibition, at the Framed Gallery in Darwin.
And does he regret the fire that so changed his direction and put him on this new path, following the community fundraiser that enabled him to pick up where he left off?
"I think that's the best incentive I could have, just knowing I have to make the best art I possibly can," Jeramie said.