Very honoured to have Claire-Anne O’Brien answering The Makers Q&A this week. I think I can safely say she makes the coolest knitted stools in town ... so thank you Claire-Anne for taking part and sharing your space, your work and your plans for the future! ... Don’t forgot to visit the links below to see more of Claire-Anne’s work.
How important do you think your working and home environment are to you? ... for example is the work you make reflected in your personal space?
Both my home and studio are quite small at the moment and full of stuff so it can be a bit like Tetris sometimes! With a small space there is a lot of compromise but it just means I have to be more creative with what space I do have. As well as that, I found most of my furniture on the streets around my house, so its more about making what I find work. I think I could pretty much work anywhere though, as I often end up working on the floor. But I do look forward to the day when I have a big and bright studio.
Form, function or fantasy?
For me, playing with form leads to fantasy and function.
What do you think has informed your personal aesthetic?
It manifests itself through which ever medium I am using - an accumulation of things like visual research, a new material or a new colour all help to define it further. I couldn’t say that its been any one thing or time but colour and form always draw me in first. At the moment I am a bit obsessed with vessels and baskets so it will be interesting to see how these translate in my work.
Do you have a project that was a turning point in finding your creative path?
My MA at the Royal College of Art was a real turning point, though at the time I didn’t think so! I was waiting for a eureka moment but it never quite came. I continued to experiment
right up to the end of the course which meant I didn’t leave with a finished product but did find a starting point and body of research that will inform my work for years to come.
Do you have a dream project or client?
I am working with a client at the moment who has spun yarn from her own herd of sheep. To be able to work with a raw material from its source is really important to me. So I really want to explore more traditional crafts like rope making and basket making. Though my work is currently based in knitting, I am excited to introduce different techniques and materials.
How important is collaboration to you?
Being a designer maker can be quite a solitary pursuit so I think you need to work with other people or you would go mad! I’ve learnt so much from working with other designers especially from other disciplines and its lots of fun as well. I share my studio space with set designers and sculptors so there is a real mix of ideas and materials flying around the place…
What is your opinion on taste and style?
Taste is subjective, instinctive and continually evolving while style is fleeting and a frame of reference. You cant buy good taste!
Are you interested in trends in your field?
I don’t seek them out but as a visual person I think you assimilate these things - it gets in there some how.
Schull in West Cork, Ireland. Its a tiny fishing village on the west coast of Ireland and looks out to the Atlantic Ocean. I have a lot of family all around the area and so feel really connected to the land there. I spend as much time as I can at home, its a world away from London and I find a lot of inspiration in the life, landscape and history there.
Claire-anne is a textile designer specialising in knitting. Originally from Ireland she graduated from the Royal College of Art  with a Masters in Textiles. Her work plays with technique and scale creating playful and tactile fabrics for interiors. This sculptural approach to textiles brings fabrics to life in three dimensions through form exploration and furniture.