An Interview with Artist Clare Winslow


Twitter is widening my world of artists locally and beyond. Each time someone follows me, I take the time to visit their website and see what they're up to. That's how I came to learn about the wonderful prints Maryland artist Clare Winslow is creating. And since I'm a fan of threading rope, string, and wire through paintings, I was particularly taken with how she incorporates thread in her screenprints. 

Q: I love how you're using embroidery in your work. Why did you decide to use it, and what challenges does it present, if any? Do you add thread by hand or by machine? 

A: Using embroidery came out of my desire to add more surface texture to screenprints. I've been sewing since I was 12, but only recently figured out how I could incorporate it into my fine art work. Having tried various techniques to add texture to paper prints, I decided to try fabric, combining my love of sewing and screenprinting in a way that works graphically, makes the piece tactile, and reminds me of home and things handmade. It's a wonderful counterbalance to my computer-based work.
Migration 2
All the sewing is done by hand. Machine sewing looks too mechanical to me for this purpose. Sewing through paper was challenging because of the paper's stiffness, but the thread and the ink combine well, I think. And silk embroidery thread picks up the light better than the regular type. 

Q: What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you? 

A: I'm also a trained graphic designer and create web sites and promotional material, often for artists. My graphic design sensibility often shows up in the work, especially the pieces incorporating symbols. In a previous life, I taught English in Japan for two years, and Japanese prints are a strong influence, particularly in their use of color.

Zone of Silence
 Q: What's your favorite piece from the past year and why? 

A: Zone of Silence, which is a piece in a series loosely related to bird migration. Zone of Silence refers to an acoustic shadow zone, an area where so-called "infrasounds" or pressure waves that travel through the atmosphere, are absent. When passing through these places, pigeons are not able to find their destination. 

Q:  Do you create intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between? 

A: I start with a loose plan, then go where the work takes me, improvising along the way. In the Zone of Silence piece, the printing part was somewhat predefined, but the sewing was spontaneous. But then again, printmaking always has a degree of surprise, so the final result is often different from what you planned.

Q: Who is your biggest influence and why?

A: That's a tough one, because I admire the work of so many artists, both historical and contemporary. In terms of work ethic, I'd have to say I appreciate my family members who are artists: my grandmother, Marcella Winslow, a Washington DC painter from the 1940s to the 1980s, my father, John Winslow, another veteran DC painter, and my mother, also an artist, who taught me to sew!
 Q: What do you feel is the best thing about being an artist in the DC area? What do you wish DC could do better?

A: Besides the wonderful museums and galleries, there's so much good local art in DC. I would like to see more attention paid to that fact in the Washington Post, as well as an increase in visual art coverage in all the local publications. I would also like to see more recognition of printmaking in general, as I think that it is an underrated art form, and the DC printmaking scene is vibrant!

Thanks, Clare, for sharing your background, process, and work here! Clare has a large portfolio online as well as originals and reproductions available at Saatchi Online, Etsy, Fine Art America, and Society6. Check out her wonderful work!