Kent sculptor Victoria Claire

PUBLISHED: 08:33 08 April 2016 | UPDATED: 08:33 08 April 2016

Victoria Claire and her Westie, Ralf

Victoria Claire and her Westie, Ralf

Archant

Battling with adversity, sculptor Victoria Claire creates works of a great tactile nature

My own keys to painting are either abstract or figurative, but with the sculpture that Victoria Claire creates in her Minster studio, the key terms are Modernist and symbolic.

Her crowning success has been a sculpture exhibition held in the House of Commons in November last year, featuring 12 pieces, both large and tabletop-size, in a variety of woods.

Victoria Claire was set for a stellar career in art. She won a place at Staffordshire University for a course in Figurative Sculpture, for which there were only 28 places in the whole of Europe. However, diagnosed with an eye disease at the age of 19, Victoria had to walk away from all this.

She returned home, got rehabilitated and took work with the Kent Association for the Blind (KAB). Subsequently she set up as a freelancer and, combined with some teaching, at that time with the Mental Health Department where she worked three times a week for three years, 
continued with her sculpture work.

Victoria took a decision that while her sight was still good enough, she would travel, so a period of backpacking ensued. On her return, she got married, worked as a classroom assistant before eventually deciding to sculpt freelance. “I have been blessed with success,” she says.

Victoria does paint and describes her style as “bold and vibrant with large canvases,” but mainly she sculpts. “I have a love for wood and love to use it in its natural coloration. If it demands a stain I might do so, but if I want dark, I will use a dark wood like mahogany or sapele (or sapelli), which is a hard wood from Africa.

“I recently did a piece called ‘Leap of Faith,’ a fish jumping out of the water, and did this in tulip wood, which has lovely subtle colours running through it.”

She sources wood from a supplier in Ashford, and one in Tunbridge Wells, but will also use found wood. “This is not ideal because wood take seven years to season and you can’t use unseasoned wood because it will crack.”

However, found wood is less critical for pieces destined for the open air, as outdoor pieces will always weather.

Victoria has also used quartz. This does not pose a problem because it is not carved. “I may use some crystals, like amethyst. I like to spin things. I will put a piece in a setting so I don’t need to carve, the setting will be of wood.”

Victoria likes to sculpt the human body and tells me: “One of the reasons is because of the flow and curves of the body, one of the most beautiful forms. I’ve done quite a few embracing pieces, which show the importance of love.”

Her other inspiration comes from trekking, which she enjoys with her husband. She also cites “spiritual awareness,” but inspiration may also come from nature. Touch is massively important: “Shapes, curves and flow can’t be experienced without touch,” she tells me.

The finish is refined like glass with a lot of sanding, going down in grades. “There are two ways to achieve the finish: first of all with a durable piece, I’ll laqueur the finish. Secondly, and nine times out of 10, a piece will be waxed. This may then need some attention as repeated waxing is necessary,” Victoria explains.

Now more than ever, however, she is studio based. Originally working in the garage near her house, four years ago her husband created a studio which she describes as being “like a little beach hut, cosy and insulated. It is about 10 foot by eight and appropriate for what I do.” There is specific lighting too.

The process involves an idea, a sketch, and a design which can evolve. A tabletop piece may measure one or two feet and can take a month or six weeks to create. A large, floor-standing sculpture may take 10 to 12 weeks. Victoria works a nine to five day, but may also be in her studio later in the evening.

Art is important for Victoria (“I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t”) and she believes it should be free for all, with no museum entrance charges. She also believes that for public art; it is just the artist who should be funded by the taxpayer.

This month you can see Victoria’s sculptures on show in Herne Bay.

Get in touch

Victoria Claire’s sculptures are to be seen at Beach Creative, Beach House, Beach Street, Herne Bay CT6 5PT, 0300 111 1913, from 18-24 April.

For commissions, contact Victoria via her website www.victoriaclairesculpture.com or email victoriaclairesculptress@gmail.com or call her on 07543 634256.

w

More from People

Monday, December 21, 2020

So you think you know your county? Take our New Year quiz and put that local knowledge to the test | Words: Adam Jacot de Boinod

Read more
Sunday, December 13, 2020

Kent has always been noted for its rebellions, its involvement in the Peasants’ Revolt 635 years ago its most famous manifestation. But what were those other Kent rebellions?

Read more
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kent Life spends a festive morning with Christmas Bake Off star Jane Beedle in her Faversham home. Article first published in Dec 2019

Read more

With light at the end of the Covid tunnel at last, we take heart from how Kent recovered from previous calamities, from the 1930s depression to two world wars and the credit crunch. Article first written in July 2020

Read more

We’re all familiar with blue plaques, but could Kent Life come up with 10 notable births in our county – avoiding the most obvious ones? See if you agree

Read more
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How the sheep farming heritage of Romney Marsh, an area of great natural beauty but high unemployment, helped inspire the creation of Romney Tweed | Writer: Sarah Sturt - Pictures: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Who was your favourite doctor? Tom Baker regularly appears in the top two in Dr Who polls, is still acting and would never rule out a come-back | Words: Bernard Bale

Read more
Thursday, November 19, 2020

You might think you’re a bit of an expert on Kent but when the clock starts counting down, simple facts may start to elude your memory...

Read more

Pets are proving a lifesaver for many, providing companionship and consistency in uncertain times, as these Kent Life readers reveal

Read more
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Working closely with the most seriously ill of patients, Joanna Mitchell knows only too well the difference it can make when they are cared for at home.

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers



Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life