Claire Benn is an artist, and educator in art textiles, author and curator. Exploring cloth, “the pliable plane”, she is currently developing the use of earth pigments for dying.
After a long career in training and development consultancy, in 1998 Claire re-focused and began her journey into art and cloth. All of her study was self-funded and with her previous career giving her the skills needed to establish a teaching practice, she did so in 2000. Setting up a teaching studio in partnership with Leslie Morgan, Committed to Cloth focused on art textiles and showed her that “to teach is to learn twice.” During this time she published seven ‘how to’ books, and in 2014, she wanted to have more time to focus on her own work and so stood down from the partnership. Since then she has exhibited widely across the UK, USA and Europe and she lives and works in a converted barn in Surrey, UK.
Using earth pigment connects me back to the land. Binding it in acrylic medium allows me to make washes that soak through the cloth or build up crusty layers to communicate the texture of earth, rock and snow. Rows, lines or scatterings of stitched thread offer a visual trace of time and a literal surface that fingertips can feel. These are my quiet materials, used to make art for experiencing solitude, stillness and silence.