I met Claire in a tiny belgian town during the summer of 2000. We were both there to see a couple of great bands play, and when the show turned into a dance party, I lost track of time and missed my last train home. This genuinely nice australian girl offered to let me stay in her hotel room, and we've been friends ever since.
In the years since that first meeting, Claire keeps surprising me with one talent after another. Her amazing eye and skilled hands seem to be constantly busy, making everything from photographs and furniture, to plush toys and hand stitched goods...all of which are just beautiful.
Here's a little questionnaire she was nice enough to fill out for me, along with images of some of her work. She'll be opening an Etsy shop soon, so be on the lookout!
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. At first it was elaborate forts incorporating hidden passageways and as many rooms as there were blankets. I won my first set of derwent colour pencils (and M.J’s thriller) when I was 7, for a local colouring-in competition that my mum secretly entered me in. When I was 10 when I got my first sewing machine; my mother was a wonderful knitter, but not so good with a needle and thread. It came with 3 free lessons and a grumpy teacher.
2.) What’s inspiring you these days?
These days, I find most of my inspiration from flickr. It’s not only the beautiful pictures I see, but watching people develop their talents and try new things. It is a wonderful community that offers endless encouragement, support and advice. There are also some seriously cool people with fabulous taste in fashion, music, films and art, who cook and read, and they are all happy to share their new favourites and suggestions… it’s a great way to discover something new, and meet some really lovely people.
Hannah huffman - haeshu She is a burst of yellow sunshine.
Annie - moxiee Her stream is pretty much all polaroid, and it is amazing.
Ashley - one blue wren I just discovered ashley about a month ago. She lives in brisbane, and she makes me miss my home town in a way I never thought possible.
(fyi: claire has lots of favorites, and she chose these for right now...but it was very hard to choose only 3!)
3.) Tell us about something you’ve made or done lately.
right now I’m working on making toys using sweater scraps from a local designer adhesif clothing, here in Vancouver. there is a lot of work involved in getting it to the squares I use to make turtles, and hopefully, this weekend, an elephant. They are for plush you, a soft toy show in seattle in September. It’s the first time I’ve made any toys for this kind of thing, and while it’s a little scary, it’s also very exciting.
4.) Is there anything else we would be interested to know about you?
the 5R's (reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, reject) and sustainability are incredibly important to me. On the first day of my furniture design course we were taken down to the logging forests in southern victoria to see for ourselves where the process starts and it was such a shocking & heartbreaking sight that I decided right then to use only recycled / scrap materials in my creations. I buy all my fabric second hand and am constantly thinking of more efficient ways to make as little waste as possible, and ideas to then use the scraps I create myself.
Thanks so much Claire!
And in case any of you aren't already familiar with it, this lovely lady has a flickr site under the name clumsy bird. She takes incredible photos and updates it daily. I recommend taking a look for some visual inspiration.
***UPDATE*** 10.31.08. Claire has opened her etsy shop under the name "my favourite dress", where you can purchase her hand sewn wallets and plush toys.
this is the first in a series of weekly "all about" some of the wonderfully creative people i know (or would like to get to know). please check back next thursday for the next installment.