Monday, May 12, 2008

Claire Platt

Claire Platt, London, UK
Brand: xfreshbatteryx
Blogs: + Flickr
Shop: + The Shiny Squirrel

Claire is no stranger to Heart Handmade, she graciously invited us to explore her unbelievable skills with needles and floss on Heart Lab last month. So now it's time we get to know her a little better...

“You’re going to hand-sew an anatomical drawing? That’s insane! It will take far too long it takes you ages drawing them!” and that did it for me really, I thought it’s a little odd but I think it’ll work.

>> continue reading Claire Platt's interview

1. How did you come up with the name xfreshbatteryx?

I actually cannot remember why I thought to carry it over to be my online art-alias as it’s actually my screenname for a No Doubt Fan Forum! I’m a huge fan and it’s a lyric from one of my favourite songs ‘New’ “Like a fresh battery I’m energised by you” but I’m just attached to that expression now! I love it!

2. I know that you were part of a show last summer. Has your work been recently shown in any galleries? What advice could you give aspiring artists on the best way to get noticed and invited to be part of a gallery exhibition?

Unfortunately it hasn’t! Although I have been involved with a few things on the internet recently, The Shiny Squirrel for one, which is a wonderful site that promotes and sells work by up and coming artists and designers! I was also part of poppytalk's greenpop!

GET ONLINE: I would say the best way to try and get noticed is to have a blog! As mine brought me many opportunities.

Also just put yourself forward for anything and everything. Write to galleries that you’d like to show at, contact blogs who might feature your work! It also helps to have a good network of other artists to talk to be it online or offline. One friend in particular - Camilla Stacey has been really good for me, thanks to her flickr I got a bit more attention and she invited me to be part of a group show. If you’re a student/ex-student I’d recommend grouping together with some classmates and trying to get some kind of group together for exhibiting as two heads are better than one!

3. How did you come up with the concept of embroidering organs and planes and displaying them in embroidery hoops?

Oddly my mother asked me this exact same question last night and I think the answer is somewhat long-winded, so this is my best attempt at condensing it…

The organs as a subject matter came first. I was given a selection of texts for a project at University and our work had to stem from that. I selected a text called ‘a brief reflection on test tubes’ that discussed the human body in parts and I thought ah-ha! Organs! That led to around 6 months of work that was just drawings with slightly more experimental/texture based embroidery.

In my final year of university I decide to keep on the same theme of Organs but became more interested in anatomical drawings and literally sewing them. I think the thing that did it for me was when a housemate said in response to me drawing one “You’re going to hand-sew an anatomical drawing? That’s insane! It will take far too long it takes you ages drawing them!” and that did it for me really, I thought it’s a little odd but I think it’ll work. The frames were literally some that I had lying around from a bunch of sewing stuff I inherited from my great-grandmother and I was just using them as embroidery hoops! Though I swiftly decided I had to find more of these things and that my work had to stay in them.

Overall I think it started as me trying to cram everything I’d ever considered doing into one project. I like frames, a touch of humour, brushing on feminism, I like old-fashioned silhouettes, I like bright colours, beads, sequins, organs and most of all I love sewing.

The aircraft’s are a new inspiration. I moved back to my parents after my studies and we live fairly close to Biggin Hill Airport, which is a airport for local aircraft use. I went up there and had a look one day and then went and looked up military aircraft drawings and recognition guides and found the drawings have them same technicality that anatomical one do. I guess I have a bit of a soft spot for scientific drawings…
4. How long have you been doing this for and how did it all begin?

When I started college I didn’t really know what to take… so I picked art and graphics! I’ve been studying art as a student for the last 6 years (college and university combined!) I graduated University in June 2007 so I suppose I’ve been doing what I’m currently doing for around eight months. Everything is a little new to me, I feel a bit like a fresher. Also my studying left me out of pocket so I juggle working full-time with continuing my practise!

5. What tool(s) can't you live without?

Lots of different needles and threads, sequins, embroidery hoops (particularly flexi-hoops), Muji pens and those dressmakers pins with the coloured bobbles on top! I even have some with hearts on! They are awesome!

6. If you had to choose one piece, what would be your all-time favourite and why?

Ohhh. That’s really difficult. I’m really rather partial to my ‘golden child’ piece I suppose. I’ve even re-made it a few different ways, with a pink satin for the shiny squirrel and in a square frame for the Abracadabra show. I imagine it’s mostly to do with it being so shiny with all the metallic thread and gold sequins…

7. Who is your idol/current craft-crush?

I have a few actually. Emily Barletta, Suzanne Carlsen, Claire Coles. I was also particularly excited this month as Lizzie Finn’s website was updated, she does amazing mainstream/advertising embroidery type pieces.

8. What are the first 3 blogs that you read every day?

Poppytalk, It’s my home page, so it’s the first thing I see when I start the Internet!

Mochimochi Blog - Amazing free knitting patterns!

- Because it’s fun!

And of course heart handmade!

9. What can we expect to see from you and xfreshbatteryx in the future?

Hopefully a lot more aircraft pieces and hopefully some kind of exhibition involving them. I’ve also been making some little aircraft brooches! Also come October I’m very excited as I’ve been accepted on to an MA course in Textiles, so hopefully my work will be progressing with some more technical knowledge and hopefully the opportunity to mix some printing techniques with my embroidery!

Don't forget to check out Claire's blog and this blog + Flickr gallery + shops at and at The Shiny Squirrel.

Thanks Claire!!


Camilla said...

Yay for Claire!