Clare Fowler grew up on Bell Island. She spent time working in fish plants and other food processing plants before moving to Ontario in 1999 to do the Chiropody Program at the Michener Institute for Applied Health. She moved to St. John’s in 2004 and worked for a decade before switching gears and following her passions for art and craft. She completed the Textile: Craft and Apparel Design program with College of the North Atlantic in 2016 and is now a full time crafts person and maker with an open studio at the Quidi Vidi Village Craft Plantation. Her body of work focuses on the use of seal fur and seal leather.
At the forum, Clare will be discussing her work where she utilizes traditional Newfoundland and Labrador sealskin to develop couture products. She explains:
"My work is exploratory. I’m not afraid to use colour, texture, and to pair it with different materials. I’m compelled to be bold and unapologetic in my designs. I see truth in the material. The resiliency, hard work, the beauty produced by harsh conditions. It is successful evolution; it is a smart textile. Anything a synthetic textile would try to emulate, Nature has already perfected in this fibre. The creative potential I see in sealskin is nurtured by my emotional relationship to it. It embodies so much of what the world needs right now. It is local, sustainable, humane, and possesses the most wonderful combination of durability and biodegradability. You can wear it a life time, and it will then return to Mother Earth. I’m inspired to push the limits / boundaries / properties of what the material can do. I’m inspired by the sealers themselves and their strength in the face of adversity."
If you would like to learn more about Clare's work, you can listen to our Living Heritage podcast episode with her by clicking here.
Forum on Adapting NL's Intangible Cultural Heritage will take place on October 25 and 26. The cost of registration is $75.00, and $18.75 for post-secondary students. For full program details click here. To register click here.
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