Sunday, February 14, 2010


South Louisiana native Claire Waguespack Fenton is a sculptor, photographer, mixed media artist and quilter. Inspired by the life and times around her, she is passionate about her art, her heritage and the future of the ever changing landscape she calls home. Claire began quilting in the '70's, discovered the world of Art Quilting in the '90's and has never looked back. We were very pleased that she was able to include us in her journey and hope that you enjoy our recent interview with Claire.


RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO: Did you always want to be an artist?
CLAIRE: I think I always just assumed I was! I've made stuff for as long as I can remember and never really thought anything about it 'till I started getting feedback.


RWSS: Do you have a dedicated studio space?
CLAIRE: Sort of. I moved 2 years ago and have had to consolidate the majority of my supplies and equipment into 2 small bedrooms. It's been a real challenge to work in spaces that aren't well suited. I am still struggling to create more functional work areas. I would love a FUNCTIONAL studio makeover!


RWSS: You work in a variety of media. Which came first and do you enjoy one more than the other?
CLAIRE: I've always worked with fabric in one form or another. The first piece of "art" I did was when I was about 5-6 and embroidered mama on a hanky for my mother (under my granny's direction). I've sewed for as long as I can remember. Had a lovely toy sewing machine when I was a child that I loved to play with! I enjoy branching out and doing other things, but I always come back to working with fiber. There is no other medium that is a malleable as fabric. The list of ways you can work with it is almost endless. I fell in love with glass while getting my art degree. Glass is pure color. As soon as I get my garage cleaned out, I intend to buy a glass kiln.


RWSS: Do you work on multiple pieces in various mediums at the same time? Or do you prefer to start and finish each one singularly?
CLAIRE: Usually have several things going at once. Right now I have a quilt or two in process, am knitting a couple of scarves, working on a couple of altered books, and making jewelry! I have been better at finishing things than I am right now. Working on my master's degree has taken top priority for the time being.

RWSS: Are there any of your own pieces that you can't bear to part with?
CLAIRE: A few. I have a handful of pieces, both quilts and sculpture that I plan to keep, although with time (and space) that may change at some point. I made 3 quilts during my dad's illness and after he died that I will never part with; they are just too personal. Other than that, just about anything is up for grabs!


RWSS: Any indispensable tools or equipment?
CLAIRE: Thermofax machine. It is the basis of most of the art I make these days.


RWSS: What is the most unusual "art supply" you've used?
CLAIRE: Hmmmm...Let's see. I did a piece that was made from copper mesh stitched over a wire grid, with leather pieces attached. It meets the technical requirements for a quilt. 3 layers held together with stitching. I would like to do more along those lines.

RWSS: Best part of your day?
CLAIRE: I am definitely a night owl!


Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
CLAIRE: That is a tough one! Art wise, I would have loved to have met Clyde Connel, a Louisiana artist whose works resonate with me. It would have been wonderful to have spent a day with her. And the Dali Lama, because I think he is possibly the most fascinating person on the planet today.


RWSS: Best advice you've ever received?
CLAIRE: If you can't please everybody, you had best please yourself.


RWSS: Worst advice you've ever received?
CLAIRE: I'm sure there's been some but I honestly can't remember. I've learned through the years to let go of what doesn't work.

RWSS: Favorite quote?
CLAIRE: ".....the work is nothing else than the long journeying through the labyrinth of art to find again the two or three simple and great images upon which the heart first opened".
- Albert Camus.


RWSS: Favorite place you've been or lived?
CLAIRE: Favorite place I've traveled to is the UK. I've been a couple of times and would go back in a heartbeat! I grew up in New Orleans and it's still got a part of my soul.


RWSS: Has the heritage and landscape of South Louisiana always been such a strong source of inspiration for your creativity?
CLAIRE: It has been for a long time. South Louisiana has such a rich, unique culture and history that it's hard not to be immersed in it. The fact that we are washing away at an alarming rate continues to fuel much of my work. Voice of the Wetlands is a website that details our situation.


RWSS: Your thoughts about keeping sketchbooks and journal?
CLAIRE: Essential. I've done it for years. My sketchbooks are a hodge podge of words, thought, drawings, photos, images, quotes, you name it. They are an invaluable resource.


RWSS: What is the one thing that most people would be surprised to find out about you?
CLAIRE: Most people are surprised to find out how intellectual I am!


RWSS: What would you do with a few extra hours each day?
CLAIRE: Get the required amount of sleep!


RWSS: I'd be lost without.......
: Camera, book, the keys to my car which gets me on the road seeking out inspiration.


RWSS: Would you say that your work is what you do or who you are?
CLAIRE: I define myself as an artist. It is who I am whether I am actively creating or not.


RWSS: Any words of wisdom?
You're never too old to pursue your passion.

Claire has won numerous regional and national awards and has work displayed in collections throughout the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia. To learn more about this talented artist and her work please visit the website CLAIREFENTON.COM.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Claire is so multi-talented that she is unstoppable! I am lucky enough to own one of her pieces. So glad you interviewed her.