Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sketchbook Peeks - Claire Smillie


This week I'm very pleased to welcome Textile and Surface Pattern Designer, Claire Smillie.


Before we start, tell us a little about yourself/how did you get into art/craft/design career and how it all started and where you are now...


My creative journey began over twenty years ago when I was a little girl. I got an A in textiles at GCSE and continued with theatre design at college, but then reality took hold and with limited opportunities in the country and not wanting to up sticks, I went to work in a bank! I continued in creating/designing/crafting outside of work and five years later the creative world stole me back and I developed ‘Creative Moments’ a retail store specialising in Papercrafts and Jewellery Making Supplies with my mother. It was this journey that really got my Creative Juices flowing again and when our shop lease expired I was lucky enough to be accepted onto a degree course in Design. I am in the first year of my degree now and already I can see my work coming on leaps and bounds and feel I have grown substantially into a much more informed designer, who is continually pushing boundaries every step of the way.


How long have you been using sketchbooks?

Gosh, I have been using sketchbooks on and off for a good few years now but it really has only been the last eighteen months or so, that I have really started enjoying the process and using them to their fullest.


How often do you sketch?

I will usually sketch a little every day, even if it’s just quickly. When I am in the full throes of a project I will often be sketching consistently throughout each day.


How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?

I LOVE starting a new sketchbook with a passion! All those clean pages just waiting to be altered....such a good feeling!

When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?

My inspiration will often collect and develop throughout my pages. The inspiration behind my previous sketchbook was a trip to London. So, my sketchbook was full of memorabilia, sketches, photos, words, mark making...all with a reference to that trip. I then developed this further by adding research such as magazine cuttings and images from my mood board to help develop additional ideas.


How would you describe your creative process?

Very full on! I throw all my energy into the project I am working on and if I am not feeling it, then I find a way to make it more exciting to me and to motivate me as my best work has almost always come spontaneously from somewhere deep inside. To help release this, I do a lot of ‘research’, which usually involves lots of sketching/mixed media mark marking. The more work I do at the beginning, been free, pushing boundaries and exploring ideas then the easier I find the final designs.


Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?

I used to be very ‘afraid’ of doing something ‘wrong’ in my sketchbook and often found the white pages intimidating. I would forever be pulling pages out if I didn’t like something. Now, I would never do this as some of the parts I may previously have thrown are the bits that become the most useful in creating my design. I also use to try and keep the work in my sketchbooks organised, but I would then procrastinate and miss ideas, so now it goes into the book as soon as it comes out of my head! In a nutshell, you could say my sketchbooks now are much fuller, ‘messier’ and creative....but in a good way!


What is your favourite medium to work with?

If you’d ask me six months ago, I would have said fluid acrylics, but I get bored so easily and right now I am having a wonderful time creating with an ink pen.


Do you have a favourite sketchbook?

The one I am working on right now! I am so excited, that somehow it has naturally developed from been absolutely choka full of sketches to having additional cut-outs and lots of textured layers. I am really enjoying the process of this sketchbook.


If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?

I think it would be this page... I love how this has evolved from its original sketch design. Something inside me wanted to take it further, so I have worked into it and created areas of cutout, later adding the collaged butterfly and insect images. To me this page, completely sums up where my next collection is going. Think : William Tempest for River Island.


A great big thank you to Claire for taking part in the Sketchbook Peeks Series and showing us her divine sketchbook pages. To find out more about her and her work check out her website here which will take you to her other online sites.

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