Posted by: Admin | November 6, 2010

The Saturday Interview 10 – Clare

Portrait of the artist, Clare Abbatt

This week sees the return of the Saturday Interview – at last! – and I am delighted to be able to introduce you to artist, Clare Abbatt. Based in Northamptonshire, Clare works from her studio at home to create her stunning sculptures.

I caught up with Clare as she was preparing to enter one of her pieces in the Northamptonshire Town and County Art Society annual exhibition.* Has she always been a working artist? I ask her.

“Not at all. After completing my English degree I worked in publishing.” Fleet Street, in the old, inky days, was an exciting start to a career for the young Clare, who happily “gave up work” to look after her family when two children came along. 

“I took a TEFL course and taught English, then went back to university when the children had left home, first to study for a BA in Fine Art, then I finished my MA in Sept 2009.” On graduating, Clare worked for six months as a two day a week unpaid intern as well as making her own work, and working part time as an art technician at a local secondary school.

Now she divides her time between her part time job, teaching art from her home in an idyllic Northamptonshire hamlet, and working on her own pieces. I was fascinated to see the busts Clare has made of local characters from the clay soil. “these people are rooted in the land,” she explains to me, “so I wanted to create their likeness from the land itself.”

Clare also works with ash and much of her work in this medium has a fragile, transient feeling about it that I found quite affecting. All of her work seemed to me to be designed to provoke an emotional response, demanding connection with the viewer.

Outside, a trough of water is full of willow branches. Once it is soaked, the pliable willow is woven by Clare into decorative pheasants, part of a range of garden art sold in a local gallery. As someone who finds it difficult to cut a straight line with scissors, I am fascinated to watch Clare as she expertly manipulates the willow, tying, snipping, weaving, and all the while keeping up a running commentary. This is Clare at her most relaxed – doing what she loves, sitting in the sunshine, creating beautiful objects and teaching as she goes!

Clare at work on her pheasants

You’re one inspirational lady, Clare – yet more proof that turning 50 can be the start of a whole new adventure!

Clare can be contacted via her new website, which will be up and running shortly:

*I have just heard that Clare was awarded the prize for work by a non-member at the Northamptonshire Town and County Art Society annual exhibition. “It was a wonderful and encouraging surprise,” she tells me – and well-deserved, might I add! The exhibition is at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and runs from 29th October to 12th December 2010



  1. Lovely post and I genuinely like the work Clare’s doing. I wish her every success.

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