On Saturday we will be attending the Autumn edition of the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk organised by local designer-makers Jo Want (Hello Sunshine) + Claire Wilson (Claireabellemakes). It is a great event that brings so many like-minded creative individuals to the City to explore + photograph the city’s Instagram hotspots! This week we have been catching up with Claire – finding out about her creative journey so far + how she has recently been appointed as an Etsy Educator.
Check out our Q+A with Claire below to find out about how Cambridge has inspired some of her collections as well as her love of social media for keeping connected with + informed about the design world. You can also hear about her first educational course which is running next month – aimed at helping first time Etsy sellers set up shop!
(Image by Claire Wilson – Claireabellemakes)
(Image by Holly Booth Photography – Motivational Print)
Tell me a little about yourself and how you became a designer-maker.
Back in 2012 I had finished a masters in Arts Management and suddenly had all this time on my hands. I started blogging to share my craft hobby and soon after started an Etsy shop to sell accessories I had made. Things quickly grew from there and I started creating more accessories, greeting card collections and stationery items.
Describe your style in 5 words.
Positive, Colourful, Great for Gifting!
(Image by Claire Wilson – Bike Pin)
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I spend a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest looking at colourful accounts and seeing what other creatives are exploring. My bicycle themed collections are inspired by Cambridge – the bike has become a symbol of what home means to me. When we moved here I told my partner that I would need a bike (I can’t drive) and I think I have cycled pretty much every day in the last 12 years! There is something about cycling that makes my heart so happy that I knew it would come out in my designs.
Could you tell me a little more about one of your products?
Word games and in particular, Scrabble inspired themes are a large part of my collections. I created a family names frame with the letter tiles after a friend requested one as a gift. They have since become my most special product as they all have a great deal of meaning behind them. People order the frames as wedding gifts or for new arrivals. I select a fabric background for the frames and remove the glass to give it a tactile look. Working out the layouts for all the words and names used to be a long process with a notebook and pen. Now, I have lost the ‘puzzle’ stage as I have a computer program which works it all out for me! It was custom built and saves me so much time.
(Image by Claire Wilson – Family Name Frame)
How do keep yourself informed about what is going on within the art, design + handmade world, in Cambridgeshire and further afield?
I like to keep up to date with social media (Instagram is my favourite as it’s so visual) and I attend events where I can. There is nothing like meeting people in person and the connections in the design world are always so genuine and supportive!
Are you a member of any local art groups? Do you teach any classes?
I am a member of the Cambridge Made group which is the Etsy Team for the East of England. It’s fantastic to be involved in their markets each year because the range of work is so diverse. In addition, I organise the Cambridge Creatives Photowalks which are open to all – it has given me an opportunity to meet new people in the city to explore as a tourist again after living here for so many years.
(Image by Holly Booth Photography – Greetings Cards)
This month I was selected by Etsy to become an Etsy Educator. This means I will be delivering training for new sellers to set up their shops. I can’t wait! I so enjoy passing on all the things I learned along the way. My day course on Saturday 14th October 2017 still has tickets available here if anyone is interested.
Where can people find your work?
Thank you so much to Claire for taking part in our Q+A! She has been an inspiration to us ever since we attended her marbled clay workshop back in 2015 + we love following her work. Did you know that she was invited by Pinterest to present a workshop earlier this month with Kirstie Allsopp at The Handmade Fair? Amazing! Follow Claire on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram + Pinterest. We hope to see some of you at the Photowalk on Saturday – make sure you RSVP here!
If you are a local artist, designer or maker + are interested in finding out about a feature, please do feel free to contact us – we would love to hear from you + find out about your work.