Friday, 5 October 2012

Claire Bunyard - Textile Artist

Next in our series of interviews with the designers featured in Inspired:London is Claire Bunyard.

What is the name and background behind your company?
My own name- Claire Bunyard. I started at 21 years old as a textile artist selling pieces in craft shops and galleries. I’ve always worked part time in other creative roles and it’s these experiences that keep me enthusiastic about craft.  I worked as PA to Dr Shirley Frost who owns designGAP, a Birmingham based company that helps to promote UK designer makers. She has always been exceptionally encouraging. After two years experience with her I decided to go to university to study Woven textiles. I went to Brighton and graduated in 2010. Gaining my degree has built my knowledge and confidence and helped me to further my career. I’ve dabbled in producing fashion and interior products. I’ve also worked with some wonderful designers including textile designer Margo Selby and wallpaper designer Tracy Kendall. My passion for art remains and I work from my studio creating textile art pieces. All pieces are hand made by me and I use my own handwoven fabrics as much as possible.

Where are you based?
I work between my home in East London in Leytonstone and my studio space in Bermondsey.

How long have you been in business for?
I started crafting and creating as a hobby in my spare time. I continued throughout university. After graduating I thought it was more important to get a full time job, but 2 years later I’m finding it easier than I thought to work part time and run my business part time. I realised that my own work was what I was truly passionate about and decided to give it a proper go.  Now I would say I’ve only officially been in business for 10 months, I feel very much like a fledgling artist.  In January I built up my website, got in touch with new galleries and planned new collections of work. Since then everything has been going wonderfully, which makes me think it must have been the right time.

What do you love most about living in London?
Everything in London is an inspiration.

Who or what inspires you?
People inspire me. Initially my pieces were portraits of friends or family. Then I started being inspired by characters, personalities and stories. Each piece tells a story. Recently I’ve been working on still life work, but still each piece is inspired by an individual. They tell a story about a person and a character, in that sense they almost become abstract, which I find a fascinating concept. I’m interested in the narrative quality of textiles.  I’m very interested in the nature of the materials and the meanings they convey. As an artist I want to create beautiful pieces. I’m happy for them to look purely decorative, but I like to think people read their own stories in what they see. I’m inspired by folktales, folk art and different cultures. Recently time spent abroad has inspired the way I do everything.

What advice would you give designers starting out?
Be true to your own ideas and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Be confident. Enjoying what you do is the most important thing. If it’s no fun then there’s no point. Take your time, enjoy the process of crafting, learning and the experiences that will come your way.  Also talk to everyone you meet, being open and friendly. Some amazing things have come to me from just chatting with people – I think business people call it networking!

What is new for your company?
I’m already preparing for Christmas! I have a new collection of pieces that are in the design stage at the moment. I design on paper first, deciding on size, colours, materials and have everything pre-planned before I start cutting up fabric. Two new pieces will be in an exhibition with Inkfolk in November / December, and then a couple of Christmas craft fairs. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, so I want to get heavily involved.

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