We’re pleased to welcome Janet Clare to Moda. Her line, Hearty Good Wishes, will be in stores in February: in the meantime, you can enjoy getting to know her. Because Janet lives in England, our interview was conducted via email and she kindly provided numerous blog links to illustrate her answers. Be sure to click through and check them out!
Tell us about how you got started in quilting and sewing.
I have always sewn and knitted (more knitting here and here) and embroidered and drawn and painted and made dresses (I have made a dress from a 1940’s Vogue pattern) and just fiddled constantly (can’t crochet for toffee, though). My mum and her mum taught me to sew and knit and my mum taught me to quilt. I have a degree in textiles and fashion, and was a freelance knitwear designer for many years after graduating. I think all the arts and crafts overlap and if you are creative you can have a good try at almost anything.
I draw with my sewing machine and writetoo, and tend to hand embroider. This is an embroidered drawing my son Joe did.
Are you a painter/artist as well as a textile artist?
I have always drawn and painted and like pottery and dressmaking and baking too. I just try to be creative as much as possible, really. I try to keep a sketchbook and a scrapbook.
I also do a lot of mono-printing for each book [Janet’s got two books of designs, available through Etsy]. In fact all the designs for the Hearty Good Wishes fabric line are direct results of my printing. Here are some mono-prints from the latest book, as well as an apple painting and a sparrow.
What else would you like people to know about you and your work?
I love working. I’d work just as hard if noone were paying me! My Mum is Irish and when you are being lazy and not doing anything constructive (which is frowned upon) they say you have your two arms the same length. I don’t like my two arms to be the same length and am very restless if I’m made to sit still for long without a book or some knitting or sewing or drawing to do. I don’t find relaxing that relaxing!
So, I love to work. I love to make things from my imagination and make them exist in the real world. I only make what I want to make. I don’t look at trends or worry about what anyone else is doing. I do what I do and am very fortunate that others seem to like my work too. I think my work should be as recognisable and authentic as my handwriting. I should have fun making it, not worry about mistakes—just enjoy the process. And then use what you have made. I don’t keep anything for best (when is that anyway?)
If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to peruse Janet’s blog. It’s chock full of wonderful stories of her family, her love of textiles, and her daily inspirations. Janet’s sly sense of humor is sprinkled throughout. Bet you’ll find yourself laughing out loud at posts with titles like “The Boiler Ate My Morning.”