Artist Information for Claire Passmore

I make art quilts for sheer pleasure, from the moment I have the first idea for a quilt to putting the last stitch in place; I enjoy every step of the unfolding journey.  The process of constructing a whole quilt from many smaller pieces is deeply satisfying – like a puzzle with no limits.

When I begin a quilt my aim is to create something which draws the viewer in and then holds them, looking, thinking and provoking them to consider new ideas or seeing things from a different perspective. By using many layers of cloth, paint, marks and stitch I want to make surfaces that intrigue those who stop to take a closer look. Most of my work is based on people and social commentary and I like to create quilts with a story to tell, with messages or symbols that challenge the viewer to ponder their meaning and think about the people whose stories are portrayed.I travel a lot and am lucky to have continually changing scenery to inspire me and many different people to learn from.

I like to research and explore the themes for my work in sketchbooks. My books are full of quilts that I have not yet, and may never make, but I enjoy letting my ideas flow out onto the pages. I then choose the ideas that captivate me most promising and begin the process of developing a design. Using the pages and photographs I have taken I sketch out my ideas and gradually refine them until I have a design I am happy to start with.

The foundation of my quilts is almost always made from my own hand dyed cotton fabric, but I enjoy experimenting with other materials and surface design techniques too, seeking to achieve different effects and textures. I am mostly self-taught, and so have no rules to break. I just cut, stitch, layer, fuse, applique, print, paint, embroider, thread sketch, quilt and embellish with abandon and allow the work to evolve. 

My currently evolving work weaves together stories from the past and the present. In the past the ancient alchemists explored materials and events that were familiar to them as they worked to make sense of their physical world. They were often cast as evil magicians and ostracized to the fringes of society.   Theirs are the bold marks which feature on many of my quilts. For the present I have taken those same materials and relate stories from more modern times which tell of the impact they have had on people’s lives. 

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Chrysopoeia 80cm x 45cm  

In times past one of the fundamental goals of the alchemists was to transmute other elements into 'common' or 'vuglar' gold, more correctly termed ‘chrysopoeia’. This quilt tries to capture the mood and feelings of their work.


Carusi112cm x 82cm  

Sulfur has been extracted from the ground since antiquity and had many uses. The island of Sicily has produced almost all the world's sulfur until recently, and used child labor to assist in its extraction from deep underground. This quilt tells the story of the young boys, known as 'Carusi', who were sold by their orphanage carers of their desperately poor parents to work in the sulfur mines. Their lives were quite literally a living hell.

I Will Be Beautiful Somehow

I Will Be Beautiful Somehow110cm x 85cm  

The climax of an unhealthy obsession with 'beauty'. When the realization that no expensive beauty products or treatments actually work to transform women into the airbrushed models of feminine perfection so many compare themselves to, many resort to surgery to sort out their 'situation'; a quick nip, tuck, lift and stretch. It is a booming business. 

Am I Beautiful Now?

Am I Beautiful Now?110cm x 85cm  

As we age our skin loses its elasticity, lines appear and our plumpcious looks begin to droop. Why are we so desperate to hide our age? Who are we trying to impress? Those wrinkles give the game away – so how about a quick ‘fix’? Turn to the professionals who can inject the most lethal toxin known to man directly into the face to paralyze those muscles. And for the sagging, just a little dermal filler should do the trick....

Nous Marchons Ensemble / We Walk Together - 1st prize Quilt en Beaujolais & currently part of the Threads of Resistance exhibition

Nous Marchons Ensemble / We Walk Together - 1st prize Quilt en Beaujolais & currently part of the Threads of Resistance exhibition119cm x 84cm  

Imagine packing a single bag, gathering your family together, and closing the door to your home for the last time. You have left your job, your car, your possessions. Everything. And then you start to walk so that you can be somewhere safe. Where? Who knows? But anywhere would be better than here.