In this member focus blog post for the 2020/21 WebinArt programme, we are proud to introduce Clare Morgan, aka Curiousinkyme.
WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire's year-long professional development programme for creative businesses. Our Emerge members are early in their career and benefit from one-to-one tailored business mentoring sessions alongside a whole host of live online events and resources.
Click here to find out more about the WebinArt Programme. WebinArt 2020/21 is generously subsidised by our funding partners - Leicestershire County Council, Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Hinckley + Bosworth Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Blaby District Council + Rutland County Council.
Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.
I am a fine art printmaker based in Derby, I create original, empowering portrait artwork that encourages reflection, empathy and calm using traditional screenprint and linocut techniques.
After graduating with a degree in Fine Art in 2005, I became a part of Green Door studios and fell in love with the printmaking process, I have worked using many techniques over the years.
I was drawn to the planning and creating of stencils and plates, it forces me to be patient, and I adore the element of unpredictability in the creation of the artwork. The thrill of the reveal when you lift the paper from the plate for the first time is addictive.
I also embarked on a career as an art teacher, and as my teaching responsibility grew my art practice started to take a back seat. In 2016 I was diagnosed with blood cancer, my work initially became a way of documenting this experience and I became fascinated with portraits, I made many self-portraits during this time as well as drawing from sitters at Derby sketching club as I recovered from a donor stem cell transplant. I made a commitment that my art practice would have more of a key role and I went part-time with my teaching and that’s where my practice in its current form began.
Initially, the artwork was a reminder to myself as I tried to hold onto my own lessons, but over time I learnt that it is a powerful way to encourage and connect with others. I started to meet people at art fairs and exhibitions and some shared their stories with me. I saw incredible strength and vulnerability and these connections reaffirmed the realities of the human experience that I passionately wanted to capture. I knew from that point that the human form was a vital part of the work. Artwork can be a powerful reminder of the things we see as important, makes us feel good and can be a talking point to help us build connections.
I am fascinated by Eastern philosophy, most recently Wabi-Sabi. This concept provides a way of defining the things I have always been drawn to in my art practice, it’s about acknowledging the incomplete, imperfect and impermanent, for me, this is accepting things as they are, and therefore being able to sit with the uncertainty.
How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?
My practice can ebb and flow over the year depending on the demands of teaching, I find that the times I’m not directly creating the ideas are forming in my mind and I get excited to be able to bring them to life. I always make sure I have at least 2 days a week working on my art practice and business. I have learnt (perhaps the hard way) that good studio organisation and specific workflows are vital, so I have processes set up for specific days to make sure that I am using my time well. I use an app called Trello to organise this, which has been a game-changer. I find time to get outdoors daily, and have taken up wild swimming over the last year, it is so important to have some balance and I find being immersed in nature is my way of being mindful and it keeps me creative and motivated.
What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?
My main challenge has been the shift in my practice this year, which has also been the biggest success. I am on the UK shielding list so have spent most of the last year working from home, I would usually screenprint in a studio space where I could access specialist equipment and work on a larger scale.
Being at home I found that the scale and medium I chose needed to be appropriate to my attic studio space at home, that I could do with minimal equipment, so I ordered a couple of pieces of lino not knowing if it would go anywhere. The change in process has been the best thing I have ever done in my practice! It was definitely a learning curve finding my artistic voice in a new way, but I have found that it has allowed me to explore, experiment and push my ideas much further. The scale is much better too, allowing my collectors to curate their own gallery walls which have such an impact!
What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?
I would like to keep pushing the potential of lino cutting, perhaps combining lino and screenprinting when I can get back in the studio. I work in series, at the moment it is called ‘bloom’ and I am looking at this developing into a new series of work incorporating the seasons and the Japanese elements. In the long term, I would love to produce a body of work to apply to the royal society of painter printmakers and to be able to move to a bigger studio space. Teaching will always be a part of my practice as I love nurturing creativity in others and I can share my values and encourage others to work with curiosity.
How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?
There are so many learning curves and challenges along the way, particularly the logistics of running a business, being able to access information is vital as it isn’t something that is covered in a creative degree. I have found the webinars and resources an invaluable source of information, and there’s such a variety and they focus on the essential things you do need to consider as a working artist such as pricing, writing copy, marketing, and even self-care. I came to the community a little later, but already everyone has made me feel so welcome and it is clearly such a supportive group, it is good to know that we are all figuring things out together and that there’s a wealth of information in the creative community.
What has inspired you recently?
Being outside in nature has been a source of inspiration, especially now it is spring. The blossom reminds me of new beginnings and makes me feel so optimistic. I enjoy wild swimming and being immersed in the lake is a place of inspiration, this just makes me feel so connected to my surroundings and this fuels my creativity.
I have recently been quite inspired by Romanticism, an art movement that was a reaction to order and rationalism. I love that it is spontaneous, imaginative and appreciates the beauty of nature, it favours the senses and reminds me of how I feel in those moments I seek out nature.
It was a reaction to the movement before (classism and neo-classism) as art often is, and I find it fascinating that it was seen as a bit of rebellion to want to connect with the natural world.
I recently read ‘the artists journey’ by Stephen Pressfield, I found it insightful and inspiring, it’s quite a philosophical look at the purpose of being an artist but there were so many parts of this that resonated with me.
See more of Clare's work here -