Claudine is a collage and fiber artist living in Annapolis, Maryland. She loves to create using lots of little bits of paper and fabric.In Claudine’s words: “I love the process of collage! I love to rummage through my collection of papers and fabrics, cutting them up, altering them, and finding the right combinations. All these little pieces allow me to create something new and wonderful! Claudine and I met online while working on our mutual blogs.
- How long have you been doing your wonderful collages and what made you choose this as your medium?
I have been working with collage and mixed media for twenty years. I tried a lot of other mediums in school but found collage the most appealing. I like that I can take something, cut it up, and make it into something new. My style varied broadly until about 10 years ago when I started working in my brightly-colored cut-paper collage mosaic technique. Life is so complex, and I feel using all these tiny bits shows that. I find this technique very meditative, too.
- What inspires your work?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my life. I find art very therapeutic and over the years, I have used it to express how I feel about a lot of issues. I find it a lot easier than words. I am married and have three wonderful boys, and I find endless inspiration from them. Recurring themes in my work include motherhood and women’s issues and of course the beautiful Chesapeake Bay where I live.
- I am very impressed with all the money you have raised for ART NOW FOR AUTISM. You explain everything in detail on the Art Now website. Could you give us some info about it for readers who are not familiar with it.
My oldest son was diagnosed with autism at age 4. It was a very difficult time for us and as with many things in my life, I turned to art. In 2006, I sold my collages to raise money for autism awareness and research. The following year I asked other artists to help me, and Art Now for Autism was born. Art Now is primarily an online exhibit and fundraiser. In four years, we raised over $19,000. Currently Art Now for Autism is on hiatus to allow me more time to focus on my own art. But I hope to bring the event back in the future. In the meantime, I have been selling puzzle pins on my Etsy site to raise funds for a local autism organization called The Autism Project.
- You mentioned on your last blog post that you are focusing on women these days. You are exploring their roles in family, work, and beyond. Could you tell us about your findings. And could you also tell us how you yourself are able to juggle work and your 3 children. I totally admire mothers who still have time to work and create.
Women have such complex lives these days. They juggle motherhood, careers, marriage/relationships, friendships, chores, personal goals, and more. It is tough, and so many of us are so hard on ourselves. We criticize ourselves so harshly. I wanted to focus on some of the positive sides of what we go through and how strong we really are.
In my recent collages, I am exploring more of how women feel. Many of my previous collage work lacked faces. I am not really sure why I left the face out of the collages but I did. Now I am really exploring the face and expression and exploring emotion. I try to let the women in my work say what they feel in their expression – joys of motherhood, protective feelings over a child, peace, confidence, etc.
Juggling motherhood and art is tricky. I had a lot of trouble finding time for my art when the children were very young. My art went to the back burner for several years, and I had to resort to staying up very late if I wanted some art time. This year my youngest finally headed off to kindergarten so I am now able to have more consistent studio time. It also helps that this summer we finally created an official studio for me. No more trying to make art in the middle of everything.
- Did you ever feel like giving up?
I think every artist experiences frustration during the course of being an artist. The challenge of raising a family while trying to be an artist definitely has its moments. But art is such an important part of me. I don’t think I could live without it. It also really helps that I have a very supportive husband that encourages me to keep going.
- What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
The biggest thing is make time for your art. Try to make time every day for it. Even if it is just five minutes. Draw in a sketchbook, go for a walk, or peruse art web sites and blogs on the internet. Keep the creative juices flowing! The more time you spend, the more your art will grow. Don’t give up!
- Of all your work, Do you have a favorite piece?
Oh, that is so hard to answer! I have a number of favorite pieces…
I am really enjoying my new series of collages which I have been calling “collage moms”. Probably Autism Mom is my favorite of those. I love how strong the mom is in this piece… and I adore how her hair turned out, too!
My other favorite pieces include a pregnant belly collage I made in 2004 called Red Belly, a memorial piece for my grandfather who had Alzheimer’s in 2005, and a quiet piece called After the Storm which shows an ice encrusted tree that I did in 2007.
Claudine, thank you so much for being part of my “Interview Wednesday”.
You can find Claudine at: