Inspiration and Outcome

In September, Claire looks back at her photographic images and selects some where inspiration turned in to outcome.., and some that did not!  Proof that there’ll never be enough time to realise all of the ideas we have; some just have to be enjoyed.., and let go of.

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Taking my own advice

This month Claire considers how to build a harmonious body of work without it feeling repetitive or formulaic, reminding herself of some key ideas to help us change the way we handle media, tools and even the cloth or substrate we’re working with.

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What if? The Answers Lie in the Questions

In this month’s essay, Claire discusses the power of “what if” and how it can generate new ways of working. Whilst every exploration won’t succeed, failures aren’t real failures if they teach us something. Claire advocates trading attachment, fear, expectation and disappointment for hope, anticipation, learning and progression. Not knowing can be exciting as there is so much discovery to be had.

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Claire Benn
Elemental Outcomes

In Her Quiet Materials June Blog, ‘Elemental Outcomes’, Claire explores the ability of natural elements (specifically water, wind and fire) to drive great art, looks at the power of repetition and helps a friend take a risk and experiment.

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Claire Benn
Inside Atacama

"The place has an ancient feel, a sense of the ground being somehow sacred. Vast and humbling.” Read Her Quiet Materials May 2019 blog to find out how textile artist Claire Benn draws on the landscape of the Atacama desert as inspiration for her work.

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Marking Time

"I’m aware that growing older can cause anxiety, as time seems to be running out, but imagining time as spiral is rather comforting as it contains all of the events, experiences, learning and wisdom that has made us so far. We are at the very centre of it, pulling it ever upwards but never losing all that has gone before. In fact, all that has gone before spreads out and sits beneath us as a solid foundation.” Read Claire’s fascinating musings on the experience of Time and the impact this has on her work.

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Of Materials and Making

If you enjoy hanging art in your home, then read Claire Benn’s February blog on the pleasure of materials and the art of making.

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As if to Nothing - into the Arctic

“This cold wilderness offers so much; the silence of the snow, the cleanness and crispness of the air, the monochromatic, pure vistas, the textural details and the light.” Read Claire Benn’s accounts of her travels within the Arctic Circle and the influence of this magical region on her work…

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Traces of Time - At Acoma Pueblo

"There is no doubt that New Mexico, and specifically the Acoma Pueblo offered me a great deal to work with. I’m often asked why I called the series ‘Traces of Time’, but time – or evidence of time - was all around me; the flat-topped mesas, eroded rocks, the weathered valley floor, buildings and timbers, sacred ceremony and ritual, ancient culture, worn and well-trodden steps …”  read artist Claire Benn on ‘Traces of Time’, the series of mixed media works she created inspired by New Mexico.

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Claire Benn
Sensing Space

“Entering the eternal green of the Canadian woodlands or silently paddling a canoe across a lake. Seeing a young moose grazing the shallows … Crossing the Channel in a sailboat, losing sight of land; scary and exhilarating.” Claire Benn describes her love of big nature and how a sense of space impacts on her work.

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Claire Benn
Material Girls - Quilts as Art

Three leading contemporary artists who use quilts as their medium - Nancy Crow, Pauline Burbidge and Diana Harrison - are in the spotlight in ‘Her Quiet Materials’ blog this month.

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In, On and Under the Surface

An exploration into the world of surface design in Art Textiles (such as painting, screen printing, mono-printing and scraping techniques); and a showcase of contemporary artists who create cloth that is unquestionably art.    

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Woven Stories - Four Contemporary Weavers

Weaving (including tapestry weaving) is one of the earliest textile techniques. The fibre used would historically include silk, cotton, wool, linen, hemp or rags although today’s weavers also use and recycle materials such as plastic and wire. Whatever the yarn being used, they’re laced together on a loom to form cloth. Read about four extraordinary artists using weaving in their work today:  Marcel Marois, Fiona Rutherford, Jo Barker and Ptolemy Mann.

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Hung, Drawn but not Tortured

The story of the artistic practices of binding, wrapping and hanging thread, cloth or fibre; to celebrate the 'Summer of Christo and Jeanne Claude’ in London this year.

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A Stitch in Time

Hand stitching or embroidery is a skill in which artists use needle and thread to stitch into cloth. Often done within a hoop or a frame in the past, contemporary embroidery has now escaped this boundary and it’s now common to see the deliberate use of loose threads and ‘imperfect’ stitching, along with traditional techniques such as darning and mending being incorporated in to the work. Read more on five brilliant contemporary artists using hand-stitch in their work

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Material Momentum - Keeping Art Textiles Alive

Olga de Amaral, Judy Chicago, Sheila Hicks and  Lucienne Day: Four giants who have kept the art textiles momentum going since the 1950s and the days of the early pioneers.  Read artist Claire Benn’s account of their remarkable contributions to art history.

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The Fibregettes: Liberators of Textiles In Art

Claire Benn selects five female artists - the 'Fibregettes’ who served as pioneers to bring about an enlightenment in art textiles and describes the ways they liberated this art form:  Sonia Delaunay, Gunta Stolzl, Anni Albers, Louise Bourgeois, Hannah Ryggen.

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