SELVEDGE TALKS TO...CLARE MCEWANby Penny Gray
What made you start working with textiles?
I love the mixed media approach in textiles, that it can incorporate so many materials and techniques. I think I’m drawn to a mix of activity in my practice and textiles offer so many possibilities.
What is it about your craft that captured your attention?
The changes is scale of artwork are very interesting to me. I work with a variety of mark making and sculpting ideas by hand which I photograph. I like that I can then play with the scale of a small brush mark and scale it up in size through digital technologies, to completely alter the impact of the work. The choices in scale mean I’m continually seeing my own work anew, which keeps it fresh.
What inspires you?
I’m really enjoying walking with my camera and finding new colour palettes out and about. Accidental colour inspires me. Finding objects, textures, materials placed together in unexpected ways.
Who inspires you?
Finding out about an artist’s way of working. I recently saw the Giacometti exhibition at the Tate and there’s a lovely film there about his typical day in the studio. I love hearing about people’s decision making. A favourite artist of mine is Robert Rauschenberg and I was so impressed with a recent documentary about his journey. Meeting these artists, even through the screen, emboldens my nerve about the creative life.
What is your favourite part of the process?
It’s probably the early stage of a new project, when I’m working with a new material or subject matter, and having time just to explore without concern for what it must become. This time is the most experimental.
What’s the hardest part?
The hardest part, but also the most satisfying, is in the editing process. Taking all the experimentation, sifting through what works and moving it on a stage, gradually refining and resolving into what might work as a scarf design. It can be difficult, repetitive and overwhelming to manage all my imagery. I don’t dislike it but it does require stamina!
Where do you live and why have you chosen to be here?
I have recently moved to Kilsyth, a town just outside Glasgow. I moved up from Kent, so it’s quite a change in climate and geography. I’m much nearer to the countryside here so enjoying the fresh air and longer walks. I wanted a move from the south east and have family connections here.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
I don’t always keep Sundays as leisure, sometimes it is an opportunity to catch up on work tasks. But I would hope to get in some of these things: listen to Cerys Matthews on BBC6, potter in the kitchen, prepare great food, watch a film, walk a lot, maybe take a yoga class and share a dinner with friends or family.
If you could fly anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go and why?
Mongolia. It’s a place that’s been in my mind lately. It feels very remote and distant to my day to day life. I was reminded of its beauty by a recent film, The Eagle Huntress, which I recommend for any textile lover - it’s exquisite.
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