Clare Thomas is a British artist living and working in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She makes artwork about place, memory and our relationship to the natural world. Her practice spans photography, collage, environmental actions, painting and sculpture. She collaborates with others in developing long-term projects and is a founding member of BOXCARSIX artist collective. Thomas holds an MA in Art and Environment from the University of Falmouth, UK, and her work has been shown in Canada, the UK and Germany.
Much of Clare’s work incorporates actions and techniques from the feminine world of domestic labour and crafts, such as cleaning beaches, storing beach debris in glass jars and stitching. She often repurposes waste industrial and domestic materials as well as personal documents to create a body of work whose narrative is both deeply autobiographical and universal.
This program was equal parts inspiring and challenging. The highlight of my experience was collaborating in a group on the project WOMAN AS. Working on our own, and in an online sewing bee, we each altered and repaired clothing from thrift stores as a means of exploring our identities as women at a time when gender is increasingly fluid. The project allowed us to use historically “feminine” activities to explore assumptions about womanhood.
I was inspired by my memories of girlhood to apply patches and the word TOMBOY on a pair of overall-style shorts. Because these shorts will be passed on to a new owner, I embroidered a secret message, “you can wear what you want,” inspired by a story shared in the group, on the inside of the bib. I also embroidered other words used historically to describe energetic women, onto a slip for a baby’s dress. I used different shades of pink to reclaim a colour that was once considered too strong for girls, and has recently become contested as a signifier of femininity and weakness.
1962 | Lisbon, Portugal
Lives and works in Victoria, Canada
1984 | BA Social and Political Studies, Cambridge University, UK
2021 | Exposure Photography Festival, Contemporary Calgary, Calgary, Canada
2021 | eco:echo, Victoria Arts Council Gallery, Victoria, Canada
2019 | It’s a Guy Thing, Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, Canada
2018 | My Mother’s House, Xchanges Gallery, Victoria, Canada
2014 | in/visible, Slide Room gallery, Victoria, Canada
2019 | Back Lane West, Redruth, UK
2018 | Takt, Berlin, Germany
2018 | The view from here, BOXCARSIX artist collective, Xchanges Gallery, Victoria, Canada
2015 | eARTh north devon, Ilfracombe, UK
2021 | 100 Jars, create magazine, Consumption issue
2020 | Featured artist, UNTIL magazine, Issue 2, Tender, Victoria, Canada
2017 | Featured artist, Creative Responsibility, Uppercase magazine, issue 33, Calgary, Canada