The Irish painter who also makes scarves

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The quickest way to get into color this spring is to wear a scarf wrapped or tied around your head, neck or shoulders, adding instant flair to any outfit. In Ireland we are gifted designers, diverse in their expression when it comes to using silk, cotton or linen as the backdrop for their compositions and visual imagery.

One such example is artist and designer Clare O Connor, who graduated in Visual Arts Practice and Design Communication from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). She has lived and worked in Berlin and Venice and launched her “wearable art” brand in 2018. She describes it as collectible editions of her paintings.

Large 100% twilly scarf, 20x160cm, €190. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

100% crepe de chine silk scarf, 70x200cm, €249.  Photography: Veronika Faustmann

100% crepe de chine silk scarf, 70x200cm, €249. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

Scarf 50% modal, 42% linen, 8% silk, 70x200cm, €129.  Photography: Veronika Faustmann

Scarf 50% modal, 42% linen, 8% silk, 70x200cm, €129. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

Her passion for abstract painting was influenced by three German painters – Albert Oehlen, Katarina Grosse and Charline Van Heyl – known for their explosive sense of color and energy, whom she met while studying at the Beaux-Arts. arts.

“My work is intuitive and I enjoy creating visually dynamic paintings and compositions that use a clash of shapes, colors and collages…creating visual mazes.”

The works on canvas use found objects, tissue papers, acrylic and spray paint, and scraps from old samples of silk and cashmere scarves, finished with resin.

100% silk twill scarf, 90x90cm, €190.  Photography: Veronika Faustmann

100% silk twill scarf, 90x90cm, €190. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

70% wool, 30% silk scarf, 70x200cm, €279, and small silk twill wrist scarf, 8x56cm, €70.  Photography: Veronika Faustmann

70% wool, 30% silk scarf, 70x200cm, €279, and small silk twill wrist scarf, 8x56cm, €70. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

As shown here, artwork printed on fabric can be used in many different ways, but makes its own powerful statement however it is worn. O Connor has received numerous awards and residencies in the more than a decade since graduating. In 2016, for example, she was one of over 100 Irish artists chosen as part of the Imago Mundi Irish Collection book as part of the Luciano Benetton Collection.

In 2018 she was part of the Dublin Canvas project to brighten up public spaces. A year later, she was granted a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center, an experience she describes as incredibly productive and rewarding. She has since spent another two-week residency there and at Cill Rialaig in 2021. Last December Meath County Council purchased three of her paintings for the Meath County Council Art Collection.

The idea of ​​printing on fabric came about while O Connor was living in Venice and found another way to create an income. Since then, she has developed a wide range of styles at different price points, all made in Italy. She tweaked the details and introduced signature striped ’twillies’, narrow scarves with hand-rolled edges and frays.

Large 100% silk twilly scarf, 20x160cm, €190.  Photography: Veronika Faustmann

Large 100% silk twilly scarf, 20x160cm, €190. Photography: Veronika Faustmann

O Connor has also introduced bamboo and, during lockdown, has expanded to include homewares and a small range of tote bags and cushions in organic bamboo and cotton, as well as limited edition prints. Check out her website to see her new large wool/silk shawls and sarongs for 2022 recently launched at Showcase. clareoconnor.net

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