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Creative Women at Work: Claire Brewster gets back to nature at London Art Fair

— by Alyson Walsh

Portraits: Karine Kong Photography

Claire Brewster’s artwork is influenced by the British countryside and nature, ‘ I’m endlessly fascinated by nature,’ says the 50-and-a-half-year-old, ‘where we humans neglect – old buildings, new buildings – plants take over. Nature always overrides us and finds a way to exist in spite of us. That’s what’s so magical about it.’  I first spotted Brewster’s beautiful, bird-shaped paper-cuts in a London gallery, about 15-years-ago; drawn by their delicate appeal and the fact that the designs are made from old maps mounted on pins (there’s a lovely short film of Claire at work HERE). ‘I live in London, it’s a big brute of a city and I like to watch tiny birds flying around. I’m inspired by that and how they survive.’

Growing up in a small town in rural Lincolnshire has had an unexpected influence on the artist, ‘ Horses and art were my two obsessions as a child – I wasn’t interested in birds at all, but my parents were birdwatchers and I guess it comes around eventually!’ Brewster emphasizes the continued importance of the natural world  on her work and her lifestyle, ‘ There are so many lessons we can learn from nature. Getting our hands dirty in the garden keeps us grounded and is good for our mental health. As I’ve got older, I’ve become less nocturnal and more interested in daytime pursuits.’

Paper cut bird

As someone with an enduring globe and map obsession, I’m interested to hear why they appeal to Claire Brewster, ‘ Old maps are very romantic – not Google Maps, they’re not! – there’s nothing nicer than flicking through an old atlas. It’s easy to daydream and drift off. To create your own idea of a place. Stepping back in time and getting a sense of how the world has changed is endlessly fascinating.’

From the Darkness paper sculpture

 

Our Love paper sculpture

The London-based artist studied Fashion & Textiles at Middlesex University and works in mediums other than paper, including metal and more recently paint, ‘ I’ve just started painting collage affairs with a fashion element’, she adds. Does Brewster consider herself to be multi-talented? ‘My main New Year’s resolution is to sing my own praises. I hardly do it at all – so yes, I am a multi-talented, multi-media artist.’ Working with different mediums makes life more interesting she explains, ‘Paper cutting is very detail-oriented and so that’s the Neat Freak side of me but it’s quite hard work and very focussed. The sculptures take a long time because I’m usually cutting a lot of birds and I’m quite a perfectionist and like the birds to look like the breed they are meant to be so I spend a lot of time drawing them to capture the essence of the bird. Also the pinning is quite fiddly and can take as long as the cutting. I spend a lot of time tweaking and fiddling and so I have to let out my messy free-flowing side too. I’m enjoying the freedom and release of painting.’

Claire Brewster’s I Can See Where This Is Going

 

Claire Brewster gets messy…

Claire Brewster’s work is on show at London Art Fair (the TAG Fine Arts stand) from Wednesday 16 – Sunday 20 January 2019. That’s Not My Age readers can obtain free tickets HERE. Using the code 19TAGFINEARTS

Find more Creative Women at Work HERE.

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