It’s time for April’s Monthly Maker and time for me to put technology to the test once again. Tea, tablet and notepad at the ready, I caught up over the phone with art teacher and Make Hamilton resident Claire Buckley. After a gab about what we’d been keeping ourselves busy with, including trying our hand at new crafts and doing some of our favourite hobbies, Claire clued us up on what she’s been up to, her inspirations, and what she’s got coming up. Read on to hear all about Claire’s fabulous art classes and for some creative inspiration!
Hey Claire, as Aprils Monthly Maker, can you tell us what you do?
I teach mostly. I love doing portraits in oils and pastels (or anything I can get my hands on at the moment). But my career is mostly about teaching, and I do it from my studio at Make. At the moment I’ve got 5 full classes running, I don’t categories the classes because it can put people off. So in my classes, I encourage people to get better at what they do, whether that’s with pencil, pastel, or watercolour. I teach them to improve their skills, teaching them how to look at what they’re trying to represent and improve their techniques, but I don’t try to force my way of drawing on anybody.
What sparked your passion for painting?
I’ve always used drawing as an escape, I don’t ever remember not doing it. I’ve always either been building stuff or drawing something and trying to represent something. It’s a safe place, somewhere that I retreat to.
What has been one of your favourite projects you’ve ever worked on and why?
In 2012 I was nominated for Cheshire Woman of the Year for building a sculpture in Port Sunlight. I was nominated by my peers which was nice. The whole event and project was a lovely thing to be part of. My sculpture was based around the Titanic, at the time I was living in Port Sunlight and there were residents of the village that were on the Titanic, it was also the 100th anniversary. The council agreed to have the sculpture I’d made displayed in the village, it was 4 meters by 2 metres long. I also had Arts Council funding which was great. After a while, the sculpture was moved to New Brighton, and after 6 months I wanted it to be destroyed, so we spent a day destroying it and it was fun!
What would your advice be for anyone who wants to work for themselves?
I’ve always tried to work for myself, I find it more fulfilling. Being self-employed for me means you’ve got more control over your life. If you’re creative, the business side of things like the promotion, banks and tax, can be mind-blowing, but there is support you can get. For me, Make has been helpful in that regard.
At the moment, it could be the right time for people to try and work for themselves if they can work from home. People are improving their talents or learning new ones because they have time, some people may find that their hobbies can be a valid business.
My favourite place is drawing and I’ve tried to build a lifestyle around it.
What are you working on next?
Keeping motivated. I want to increase my classes because I love doing them. Being in a class with 6 students, us all feeling comfortable and being creative, you can’t beat it. So I want to do more classes so I can spend more time in my happy place. I’ve been using Facebook a lot the last couple of weeks, so I want to try and carry on inspiring people and giving them a project on there.
Tell us one new interesting thing you’ve discovered recently (about your craft or just in general).
I’ve learnt that people are a lot better than they believe they are. Everyone should have a lot more faith in their talents and abilities.
I’ve also realised at the moment that the internet is amazing, helping us all keep connected.
What’s it been like having a studio at Make?
It’s given me a daily purpose. I’ve always been a creative person, but my studio has given me structure, routine and a safe creative environment. I’ve made some really good friends there too which is fantastic. It’s lovely to have chats in the corridors with other residents.
Where can people find your products and services?
Facebook – @clairesartclasses
It’s nice when people send me pictures of their work on Facebook. They’re keeping me going. I’m doing daily challenges on there so get involved if you can.
You can email me too – email@example.com
You can also find me teaching at Makes next Digital Drink Draw session happening on Thursday 23rd April.