For the third week of the January Selvedge Sale, we're now offering 40% off all back issues in our January sale range with the code JANUARY. This includes the entire Selvedge archive, so if you're missing one or two issues from your collection, now's the time to top it up! To give you a taste, we've published an exclusive excerpt from Selvedge issue 56...
Entering Miss Clara’s world is probably what it’s like to fall down a rabbit hole. It is a phantasmagorical world populated by creatures that, while certainly strange, are perhaps familiar to anyone who can recall what it’s like to be a child and to possess an enquiring mind capable of epic flights of fancy. Any comparison with Alice must end there, however. This world is entirely of Miss Clara’s making – she is the conceiver, the curator, the craftsperson. And, somewhat remarkably, she manages all of this with bits of cardboard and tissue paper.
Born in 1965, Claire Guiral grew up in the countryside near Bordeaux. She cuts an otherworldly figure, her bright, colourful hippy-style clothes nonetheless betraying an open and friendly character. By the age of seven she had already created her own ‘small, bucolic universe.’ One cannot help wondering if she has ever quite made her way back to this one.
It was Claire’s great aunt who, encouraging her in her early fantastical creations, gave her the nickname ‘Miss Clara’. Meanwhile, her mother and grandmother often sewed and would give her discarded pieces of cloth with which to make things. When her mother was expecting the younger of two sisters, Claire desperately wanted a baby of her own, one so small that she could fit it in her pocket.
‘I built a small cot with paper and I waited,’ she explains. ‘But the cot remained empty. So I picked some soft grey willow buds and pretended they were kittens.’ She already felt different from other children and yearned for a confidante; ideally a small mouse ‘that I could dress like a Beatrix Potter character.’ Her favourite children’s stories contained tiny characters. This otherness, and the uncanny ability to pretend, infuses her work today...
You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 56.
To receive 40% off all back issues, just enter the code JANUARY at the checkout.