Carolyn Capers Baggott, a lifelong resident of the CSRA, moved to North Augusta when she was four. She has worked in many mediums but has specialized in wood sculpture and watercolor painting. She began sculpting as a young mother when her sons asked her to carve the top of their totem pole while they were members of the Indian Guides. She says that she had no experience, but even without proper tools or training, she produced a recognizable Indian head. Her husband, Jim, was impressed so he encouraged her to enroll in a wood carving class at Aiken Technical College taught by Clarence Ewing. After one semester, too few students enrolled to continue the class at Aiken Tech, so Ewing invited interested students to meet with him at his home to continue their studies. Carolyn worked with this group for about 15 years. This led her to taking classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Her teacher there was Master Carver Jack Hall. Knowing how much she loved carving, her children recently gave her more classes there as a Christmas gift. She worked with Master Carver Helen Gibson during those classes.
About five years ago, Carolyn’s husband saw an announcement that watercolor classes taught by Thomas Needham were starting at Fairview Presbyterian Church. Carolyn had never painted before, but Jim encouraged her to try it. She says that her husband was always very supportive of her art work and encouraged her to try new things. She discovered that she loved watercolor painting and continues to enjoy being a part of that class. Her favorite painting was inspired by her husband’s fondness for shrimp boats. After 54 years of marriage, Jim passed away in 2018. She completed the painting of the shrimp boat as a tribute to him. In his memory, the name of the boat in the painting is “Jimbo” and its registration number is his birthday. The small figure in the rear of the boat represents Jim in his Greek fisherman’s cap. This painting has a very special place in her heart.
Carolyn’s style of both painting and carving is realistic. Her choice of subjects for art works reveals her love for animals and people. Her many carvings of animals show her keen observation of their forms and her skill at choosing the best type of wood to express the character of the animal. For example, her carvings of bears out of cherrywood emphasize their dark color and powerful shape. The subjects for her paintings are frequently landscapes and still life studies, but she has done many paintings of animals, too. She values the time she spends working with other artists in classes and workshops and enjoys the many friendships she has developed with other students and teachers. She is a member of the North Augusta Artists Guild and has exhibited her work at their annual shows. She has also exhibited her work at the Arts and Heritage Center as an Artist of the Month.
Carolyn says one of the best things about being an artist is the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing each piece. Asked what advice she would give, she said that she would encourage people to be fearless about giving art a try. They just might find a new source of joy in their life. She says that her experience making art has enriched her life in many ways. The focused attention on her subject makes her notice things like colors, textures and shapes in a whole new way. She feels that art gives her a deeper appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us.
Besides being an artist, Carolyn has been very active in the community. She served on the North Augusta City Council for 24 years. In 2013 she and her husband were recognized as the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year. Both were also charter members of the Old Towne Preservation Association and even helped clear the area that would later become the Living History Park. Both were history re-enactors for more than 20 years during the annual Colonial Days at the park each fall. Carolyn demonstrated her wood carving techniques to visitors at those events. She graduated from Bolen Business College and she had a career as an office manager for an architectural firm. When her children were young, this firm even brought work for her to complete at home so that she could be with them.
When Carolyn is not making art, she divides her time between her family and her job. Her sons, Barry and Scott, and their wives, Tina and Jeanna, live in this area along with her five grandchildren, Ross, Tyler, Paige, Cole and Payton. She says she feels blessed to have such a wonderful family. She works for Brown & Bigelow Specialty Advertising. Her husband was a sales executive at this company for many years. Their humorous slogan is, “We can put your name on anything except rope or barbed wire.” She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.