cover art for Carrie Reichardt

Beauty Full Lives

Carrie Reichardt

Season 6, Ep. 3

Carrie is an artist who works in a variety of media creating her designs on items as varied as car bonnets, plates and paint cans made of ceramic. She has worked in film, performance and sculpture. Carrie's website describes her output as “anarchic artworks where vintage floral, kitsch, royal and religious crockery is given a new twist by refiring with layers of new ceramic decals." Carrie is perhaps best known for her mosaic home which has become so well known over the twenty years that she has been decorating it, that it has become a recommended stop for tourists making the trip to Chiswick where Carrie lives.

To record this episode of the podcast I visited Carrie's home, which as you can imagine doesn't really need a door number because the house is immediately recognisable, standing out from the red bricked buildings on the street thanks to its multi coloured mosaics of all sorts including a cheshire cat, flying eyeballs, dancing skeletons and palm trees covering the front of the house. The legend "I'm an artist, your rules don't apply” is displayed prominently. A bumper detail on the taxi parked in front of the house, also covered in mosaic, reads ‘beware artists, they mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous.’

I first became aware of Carrie's work when I received one of her pieces as a Christmas gift - a plate which said ‘buy less, fuck (excuse the expletive) more.’ It was kitsch, and yet anarchic. I was curious, so went to take a look at her mosaic house. 

Here’s a woman with a story, I thought, so I asked her on the podcast. Carrie’s answer to being invited on a podcast focussing on beauty was ‘I hardly have a ritual - I just wash off grout.’ That sealed it - I had to have her come on to tell her story, and to explain how a woman with such a keen eye for adorning had never been seduced by beauty.

We sat in her garden to record this, which is why you can hear cars, wind, her dog scratching around, and the general bustle of London. I hope to you that adds to the picture, fleshing out what it’s like to have a very frank conversation with a very frank woman. We talk about all sorts from Dolly Parton to art as therapy to how Princess Diana helped to destigmatise self harm to her friendship with a death row inmate. 

I loved this having this conversation, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.

(A little warning before you listen, as you may have guessed, Carrie isn’t one for holding back, and you might find some of the topics we discuss triggering.)

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