Header image of Claire at the DIY Art Market, Rich Mix, London
We wanted to celebrate Pride Month this year by recognising some of the talented, hard-working and inspirational LGBTQ+ people in our community. Today we are highlighting the incredible work of our friend and talented ceramicist, Claire de Lune. Claire is a Scottish ceramic artist and painter who started her multi-media art practice in Edinburgh before relocating to Glasgow, London and Berlin. Through her work Claire has created her own world of unique characters and symbols that allow a little glimpse into her wonderfully creative mind. Claire also identifies as a queer woman, so we wanted to ask her how much her identity factors into the work she creates as well as where she finds her inspiration and her proudest moment throughout her career...
Thanks for chatting with us today Claire! How long have you been making ceramics and how did you start?
I have been working with clay for about 7 years, and while filming a recent BBC Two series ‘Made in Great Britain’ I discovered that my family have worked in ceramics for over 700 years!
I studied Intermedia at Edinburgh College of Art and a few years after graduation, while living in Berlin, I met some incredible artists who inspired me to take my work further in the 3D realms. Shortly after my first ceramic exhibition, my granny comments ‘oh the Adams side of the family will be happy’ and it turns out that our entire family - The Adams of Staffordshire - have been central to the ceramics industry in Stoke on Trent, reaching back to the 1400s ! I must have clay in my blood.
What is your favourite and least favourite thing about working in the medium of clay?
I love really getting my hands dirty- it is such a pleasurable and grounding activity! I love the whole process, from researching, designing to testing, sculpting, to photographing and installing works at the end. Working with clay is like alchemy, you are changing the structure of a material, creating glass, melting gold! And through it you are connected to history, a craft that has been replicated for thousands of years.
If I had to choose a ‘least favourite’ it would be waiting… during drying and firing you can wait days to see if your creation comes out of the kiln in one piece. It has certainly taught me a lot about patience.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! Nature, literature, music, museums, textiles, travelling, daydreaming, clouds, breakfast, people…. It’s hard not to be inspired on a daily basis.
What are you most proud of throughout your career?
I’m so lucky to meet and collaborate with many wonderful, creative people - I even had the pleasure of teaching Anika Rice how to throw a vase on TV! In general I’m proud and excited to carry on an ancestral craft and be part of the British Ceramics Industry Heritage.
What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a creative career?
Make good work, keep on making, and learn how to make money.
Also know that failures or unexpected outcomes are part of learning, so be open to new ideas. As my great Uncle used to say - “if you are going to fail, fail spectacularly!”
Do you believe your sexuality is an important factor in your art?
I don’t set out with the goal to make ‘queer’ art, but as I like to celebrate love, connection and joy it does actually sound pretty queer! I guess it is hard to separate parts of myself from what I produce - I’m a queer woman who loves clay, and I am absolutely thrilled that many different types of people can enjoy my work.
Do you usually celebrate Pride and what will you be doing this year?
I love dancing with my friends at the Sundeck at Margate pride, but this year due to covid I’ll probably have a quieter celebration at home with my partner Anika - but who knows!
Is there anything else you'd like us to share?
Donate to your local food bank here. - https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
And you can find me on:
Instagram.com/clairedeluneart or at clairedeluneart.com