Meet Clare Therese Gray
I'd love to hear your story and how you first got started with your business?
Hello, thank you! I always wanted to pursue a creative career and after my postgrad in drawing I got some work experience in pattern design studios. I was happy to realise that I would like to be able to set my own briefs, combining my love of drawing and design, and began creating my own collections. From there I started sending designs to prospective clients and sharing my process and artwork on Instagram, gradually building experience and relationships. It's been a very enjoyable journey and the support from the creative community online has been invaluable to me.
Q: How has being a mom influenced your creativity?
Children are intuitively creative and they love to experiment and explore, so we all love to get stuck in together with drawing and creating. I think since having children my crafting skills have definitely ramped up a notch and I find myself making things and using my hands day in day out, be it drawing colouring sheets, mixing playdough to baking and sewing - today it's decorating party bags with mermaids!
In terms of my work the flexibility that working as a freelance artist gives me is invaluable while raising a family. I have learnt to be extremely efficient with my time, and my creativity always spills out from my work into our day to day life.
Q: What's your favorite piece you've created?
I do get a thrill from seeing my work printed on fabric and I'm really proud of the quilting collections I have created over the years. It's also wonderful to be able to wear a piece that you have designed the print for, so I am delighted with my collaboration for Plain Jane and can't wait to twin with my daughter!
Q: Tell us about your book coming out this year, I already pre-ordered it and am so happy for you!
Thank you so much! I am so excited about the book, which is released in the US in early October. I poured my heart into it and really had the creative community on Instagram in mind as I was working on it. It's an inspirational project based book teaching the medium of gouache. Nature is the theme threading its way through all the 25 projects, which range in complexity so that skills are built up gradually. I'd love for readers to use the book practically, be able to make small beautiful pieces but also apply them to cards, or use elements for pattern design.
Q: Where do you feel most creative?
In my home, where we live on a rural farm surrounded by the countryside. I used to have a work room tucked away upstairs, but as the children multiplied I realised I needed to be somewhere with easy access to my desk whilst also being able to keep an eye on any goings on! My desk sits in an open plan area which all the family can flow through, so I can both easily be present and maximise my use of time. Rather than seeing work as encroaching on family time, it's become a part of our family's rhythm. The children see me painting and often come and join in, but if I have a deadline I can still work and feel part of busy family life.
Q: Breakfast in bed (wearing your Plain Jane's of course!), what would you order?
An english muffin with smoked salmon and a poached egg, yum!
Q: Favorite way to create-we know you love painting but do you have another form of creativity you love to do?
I always talk about my love of lino printing, but outside of traditional media I really enjoy painting wooden furniture - I enjoy the thrill of finding lovely quality wooden pieces and giving them a new lease of life! My most recent project has been renovating a playhouse for the children in the garden, and I unleashed my creativity painting everything, from the house to the cottage sign, sewing curtains, cushions and bunting, and painting pictures for the walls!