Claire is one of the two owners and operators of Studio Vine Glass LTD.
What inspires you?
What a question! In a very broad sense, life inspires me. Humans inspire me. I simultaneously love and am extremely critical of my fellow human and try to use my artwork as a platform to talk about this. Most recently, the themes I have been exploring have to do with the hierarchal nature of humans and our seemingly schizophrenic ability to be both incredibly adaptable and to stubbornly repeat unhealthy patterns. There is an elusive dichotomy here that I will forever be chasing and try to represent with materials that both complement each other and juxtapose one another.
What can’t you live without in your studio?
My glass melting furnace. While I use many different materials (concrete, metal, wood, etc) glass is always the focus of my work. It is how I pay my bills – I create a blown glass product line with my husband that we sell all over Canada and the USA, but it is also the most challenging and most conceptually engaging of the materials I work with. So when creating my larger works, it is always the most visually captivating component thus the most mentally stimulating.
How did you start making art?
Like many artists, I started very young just drawing, painting and collaging. I kept practicing, filled sketchbooks and developed some proficiency quite young. In high school I won a couple of awards which led me to want to pursue it more seriously so I applied for Sheridan College with Illustration in mind. But then, at Sheridan, I found glass and sculpture. It was the most difficult thing I have ever tried and it completely won me over. It’s hot, challenging, discouraging, exhilarating, nothing else quite compares and it has taken over my life.
What is the best exhibition you have ever seen?
I have been to so many galleries, art openings, museums, etc that it’s very hard to choose so I will go with two pieces that I had the most emotional response to. The first is when I saw ‘The Raft of the Medusa’ by Théodore Géricault. It is so enormous and terrifying that it just hit me right in the gut. I stood by myself and cried. The second was in Philadelphia in a smaller museum. I had no idea it was there but there was a room filled with a couple of artworks and sketchbooks of Marcel Duchamp. Again, hard to choose a favourite, but I LOVE him. He is a Dada artist and used glass and many other materials and was one of the first artists ever to start working purely conceptually. Again, I was by myself, so I spent an absurdly long time going over his sketches and brainstorms just in awe. Then I turned a corner and saw – in person for the first time – two pieces of his that I adore (‘The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even and Étant Donné). I was moved to tears AGAIN. I just stayed in the room with the pieces sort of crying until a security guard came by and asked if I was ok.
What is your motto?
My motto is ‘try everything twice’. You never know what you might take to and trying something once isn’t always an accurate tell. Life is too short to not try all the things and experience as much as you can.
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