Meet the Maker: Clare O’Connor, multi-disciplinary artist
Clare O'Connor is a multi-disciplinary artist creating wearable art in Co. Meath. Clare's paintings, which her brand is inspired and based on, are vibrant, colourful, positive and energetic and aim to uplift the viewer. Her unique artworks translate beautifully onto fabric, with the result culminating in gorgeous bespoke scarves. In 2018 she launched her luxury brand of wearable art, with a first collection of silk and cashmere scarves in vibrant colour ways. Clare's scarves are all limited editions of her paintings, seasonless and collectible, in line with slow, sustainable fashion. Her scarves and accessories are Irish designed and made in Como, Italy in small print runs and her 100% Organic Bamboo collection is made in Ireland. Her collections are available in Silk, Cashmere, Wool, Model, Linen & Bamboo - which are all natural fabrics. You can view and purchase her work on www.clareoconnor.net.
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
Every day for me can be quite different; I could be taking photos of new scarves and editing them, updating my website, researching potential new customers, following up on leads, or contacting new buyers. I suppose I would generally start by catching up on emails and creating a post for social media but the exciting thing about working for yourself is that every day or week can be quite different. I may be preparing for a trade show, going on a road trip to meet buyers, getting ready for a photoshoot, or getting ready to launch a product, and then you have the day-to-day preparation of orders and shipping products to customers. Unfortunately I don't have a studio space at the moment so when I get an opportunity to have a residency or have access to a space to create, I normally work quite intensively. I adore when I get a chance to spread myself out in a space and just take the time to fully immerse myself in my creative practice.
What do you like most about your work?
I love working for myself, though my favourite part is when I am either creating the original paintings or playing around with sections of them to create the designs for my scarves and accessories. I love being in the moment when I am developing a painting and I love watching it all come together. I work very organically so I don't plan how a painting or design will be, I just intuitively play and experiment and the works unfolds and develops over time.
What do you like least about your work?
Filling out forms and applications for awards, grants, residencies and other opportunities. They are so time consuming and can take time away from other parts of your practice but unfortunately they need to be done.
What's your favourite craft item in your home?
My paints and new fresh wooden panels or canvases.
What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
I work in different mediums but my main passion is abstract painting. While I was studying fine art, I discovered the work of Albert Oehlen, Charlene Von Heyl and Katharina Grosse. They are all large-scale abstract painters. I love their use and sense of colour and the energy they convey through their work.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
To definitely go for it. If you love what you do, your passion will shine through your practice and the opportunities will come to get your work out there and connect with the right people who will appreciate and love your work.
What's your favourite time of the day?
Evening time or before everyone wakes up.
How do you switch off?
I love cooking good food and watching a good movie in front of the fire.
How do you start your day?
I wake quite early so I normally start my day by listening to meditation music, I do meditation or some self reiki. I am a reiki master so I would normally finish and start my day with a little self reiki session.
The Power by Rhonda Byrne.
What Dreams May Come or the Life of Pi.
Best concert you have ever been to?
The Cure in 1992.
A roast dinner or a lamb curry.
Music when you're working?
What do you listen to?
I have quite eclectic taste, I love alternative music, rock, grunge, gothic, metal, classical and meditation music, binaural beats and delta wave music.