Caley Shoemaker is a lecturer, researcher, and designer from Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from King University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Tennessee. Growing up in the shadow of the mountain ranges of East Tennessee heavily influenced her relationship to the land. The imposing forms, climates, cultures, folklore, and histories of the landscape provoked an unyielding interest in how our ideas of wilderness and nature direct our hand in tending to, communing with, and inhabiting our environments. As a child she frequently visited Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The juxtaposition of these radically different approaches to interacting with the land – one communing with nature in a “pure form” and the other, pleasure-seeking and capitalistic with a nod to the influences of nature in the background – continues to inform her perceptions of the design of space today.
Her interests and personal history translate into a research and teaching agenda that explores the potential of the complex horticultural ecologies of suburbia as climate change progresses and threatens our preconceived notions of living. Our tendencies to view nature as “other” coupled with our desire for pleasure and respite have created problematic practices and environments. She seeks to uncover and subvert commonly held notions about our interactions with plants in the landscape. Situated somewhere between “back to the land”, folkloric practices and abstract computational operations sits her approach to interacting, designing, and working with this living material.