Arts Emergency

Clare McEwan

Textile Designer

I was doing Science and Art at A Level and struggled a little to decide what direction to take. Deep down I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than going to art college, after that I didn’t know, I’d figure it out. I did my Foundation in Art and Design and then BA Textile Design, graduating with First Class Honours. Since graduating I’ve continued my own arts practice, developing textile pieces, experimenting with photography, installation and digital media. I’ve kept my portfolio growing, experimenting with new materials. I’ve had studio spaces in garages, art classrooms and most recently at Coachwerks in Brighton where I’m near other artists and makers. A few years out of college I did some freelance work, creating largescale wall hangings for interiors and selling photography at art fairs. But it was during an Arts Council residency in a secondary school when I felt my practice found a better fit. Sharing techniques and ideas with other students suited my enthusiasm for process rather than product. I’ve built large scale fabric pieces with whole schools, made by the students themselves for their own spaces, very satisfying work! I’ve shared my sketchbook on webinars and stated doing installations that the audience creates, making my practice transparent feels good. I like talking to people about ways of doings things. I’m curious about decisions we make and want to continue these dialogues. I had support in the early years after graduating and remember how crucial it was for my confidence and enthusiasm to order to sustain a creative career.

I’m now taking a new route by starting my own business to apply my designs to a product that does sit well with me. Working out new materials and methods that are natural, sustainable and ring true as a long-term project. I’m learning things along the way, looking for my own mentors all the time. I in turn want to contribute to this big cycle, it’s great to talk to others about what they’re doing and why, I’m always inspired by other people ‘doing it’, ‘making it happen’-Arts Emergency a great example of that.