Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Clare Jarrett – combining art and writing

Clare's installation at
Words & Women's Garden Festival
Clare Jarrett is a Norwich-based artist and writer and her work is currently featured in a fascinating interview for the contemporary art e-journal  Studio International.

Below is an extract from the interview which mentions Clare’s first fabric piece which was commissioned by Words And Women for our Chelsea Fringe Garden festival in 2014.

‘MKP: Looking at your biography online, you describe yourself as an artist and writer. These are two very different creative disciplines. Can you talk about how your use of different disciplines and materials weave together in your practice?

CJ: I think they inform each other, but I’m not sure they really weave together. On the other hand, when I was bringing up my children, I didn’t have enough time or space to go to the studio or think about my visual work, so I thought writing would be a smaller way of making the same kind of work. I thought I could take people into a world through my writing; one I hoped was like my visual world. But, actually, it’s not the same; it’s another place. They are different worlds, but they are connected. And going into writing happened through making books for my children. I made drawings and wrote stories, and they were published by Walker Books, five altogether. That led me to try writing fiction for adults. So I did a part-time MA (in creative writing) at the University of East Anglia in 2005-07. I write a lot and make notes. I wrote most of a novel. I left it for a while, but in the past year I’ve gone back to it and I’m working on it again. I might be able to finish it off: I don’t know, I can’t promise. So that’s the writing. And I’m always reading. I’m reading some Italo Calvino essays at the moment (Six Memos for the Next Millennium) and short stories. I’ve got a pile of books by my bed. Then I’ll go and look at work. I rushed to London the other day to see the Mary Heilmann show at the Whitechapel: very interesting work. She started off doing English literature, then ceramics and sculpture, and then moved into painting. I liked the way the chairs were part of the paintings. I read interviews with her, to hear her voice. Yesterday, I was reading The Writer on Her Work by Janet Sternburg (1980) about women talking about their practice. In 2012, I had a Hawthornden Castle writing fellowship – four weeks just outside Edinburgh in a castle – which was fantastic. It was a strange time because I was doing lots of writing, but I gradually understood that I needed the visual world, too. The writing, even though I absolutely love it and it’s very, very important to me, wasn’t the only thing I needed to do. So I found myself a studio in St Etheldreda’s church in Norwich. And the first fabric piece I made was in that studio. It was for an International Women’s Day celebration, and part of the Chelsea Flower Show Fringe, commissioned in January (2014) by Words and Women (Norwich), which I’m part of, and installed in the Plantation Garden [in Norwich], in May 2014.’

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