Claire Knill, In Their Shoes
Date Updated: 21/11/2022
Claire from In The Making Made is the artist and maker of the most beautiful eye-catching modern mobiles. We hung out with her to hear more about her statement art, her love of Lanzarote, and how the sensory mobile really can calm the mind. Her graphic creations are designed to counter busy digital lives and create physical focal points to renew, reflect, and reconnect – now that sounds pretty perfect to us!
To celebrate National Sisters Day, we have one of Claire’s ‘Sisters Mobile
The mobile is something that’s given to us as babies to soothe and observe. What do you think we can take from them as adults?
Exactly the same, as adults we are so used to ‘doing’, going from one thing to another and often consuming digital content in a bid to ‘escape’ and relax, that we forget how to just be; to sit with ourselves and observe the simple things around us. This is really easy to do when we are out in nature; watching the waves or trees moving in the breeze is so relaxing and can instantly lift our mood. In the absence of nature, the gentle flow of a mobile gives a movement that is constant but ever changing and this has a direct and positive affect on our energy and wellbeing. Science people call this non rhythmic sensory stimuli. It relaxes the eye muscles, reduces tension headaches and allows us to return to day-to-day tasks with a refreshed outlook. So as well as being lovely to look at they are also great for our mental health.
We feel really inspired when we observe your mobiles. But what or who inspires your art?
Architecture, nature, shadows – observations from daily life. There are so many incredible artists to take reference from…The women of the Bauhaus, whose work is not often given the credit it deserves, with their use of materials and form have been a reference point since art history lessons. Their work was designed to enhance the home environment which resonates with me. And I have a lot of love for Cesar Manrique who was a ground-breaking artist, activist and conservationist from Lanzarote. He created magical living and social spaces and the island is covered in kinetic sculptures. A kinetic sculpture can never be viewed in the same way twice. I find the added dimensions of time and movement in these sculptures endlessly fascinating.
Gorgeous colour and abstract form are the main tenets of your creations. Have you always been guided more by the abstract?
Yes, I have always been drawn to colour and colour combinations - how these can change with the light or clash. I have never been one to draw and sketch ideas in the way we were taught at art school. I prefer to pick up materials, manipulate, play and explore ideas that come from those experiments and take ideas forward from there.
You’ve done some wonderful projects including window installations for retailers, plus installations for social and community spaces. Do you have a dream commission in mind?
My pieces seem to be getting bigger and bigger as I develop my work. I’d absolutely love to do a large scale project set in nature…a desert would be incredible. Mobiles on masse, outside for anyone and everyone to enjoy!
Your art reminds us to be present. What do you do to switch off at the end of a busy day?
I have two little kids so very often it’s more of a fall into bed than an intentional switch off! That said, since we have gone into this period of hibernation I have been upping the self-care and making time to have a long shower using essential oils. I find aromas really change my mood and state of mind. And I would love to say that I stick to my lofty idea of watching mobiles and meditating, but I also love the occasional TV series as much as anyone. Grayson Perry’s Art Club and the Great Pottery showdown are my favourites. I also love heading to the beach which is a stones throw away with living in Brighton & Hove. I go from the studio to the beach in my Salties. With Brighton’s pebbly beach it’s much nicer to be able to wear shoes in the water for my sea swims, and I can with my Salties!
Your creations are really meditative to observe. Watch the video below to see what we mean! What mindset are you in when you’re making them?
My studio is my sanctuary - when I step into it feels calm and quiet. We live above the studio and I am very often coming into it from being with the family so I have a ritual of lighting a candle and having a cuppa before I start work. I try to have a relaxed, open mind. I have a tendency to over think things so I do my best to clear away any expectations. I like the total focus on being physically present when I’m making, so I try not to get too hung up on making a final piece and just enjoy the process. There isn’t a lot of space for my mind to wander when I’m working on the balance of a new mobile and I spend a lot of time stepping back, observing, adjusting to make sure the flow of movement feels right. Other times I could be cutting brass (and my fingers in the process!), soldering, finishing and polishing which is a great time to whack on some tunes and dance when I need to give my hands a break.
What’s ‘in the making’ at the moment?
I’m working through my private commissions and it’s been a surprisingly busy time recently. People are giving more thought to curating their living places and making them somewhere they really want to be. I’m using this no-mans land of time to have a play, consider what I really like making and how I want my making business to evolve. I have plans for an immersive exhibition that involves more than just our visual senses, one that people could get involved in rather than just observe. Interactive art is so exciting. As soon as we are able to interact again, I’m on it!
Thanks Claire for sharing letting us step into your shoes.
Don’t forget to head over to Instagram to enter the Competition. Good Luck!