Claudia Chase is an amazing creative from Francestown, New Hampshire in the USA. I am often reminding people that creativity isn’t just about Arts and craft, it is threaded through all aspects of our lives. What I love about Claudia, is that she is a fantastic example of this. Her creativity is not only expressed in her weaving, it also extends to her business.
Back in 1996, as a young mum, Claudia saw a need and came up with a creative solution, a portable loom that could go with you wherever you went. From humble beginnings she has grown a successful business Mirrix Looms. It’s a business that also has a social conscience, the looms are manufactured at Sunshine House, a place that provides employment for people with disability.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your creative practice.
I am a tapestry weaver, among other things, who jointly owns Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms with my daughter, Elena. Mirrix was born 22 years ago. Tapestry is my go-to favorite medium, although I have indulged in everything from spinning to dyeing (which I still do a lot of), embroidery, crochet, knitting, and beading.
What is your genre/medium?
Tapestry is my main genre/medium although I am addicted to anything that uses fibre.
What is your first memory of being creative?
My first memory of being creative in the fibre world, (because until this moment I did not know about my love of fibre), happened when my parents brought my sister and me, little needlepoint kits from France. I think there were three little pictures to needlepoint. I dutifully made one and then turned the other canvas’s upside down and did my own thing. That eventually lead to weaving and all my other fibre addictions.
Who or what inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by nature. I know that sounds trite, but she informs all my colour decisions, and colour is the basis of my creativity. If it doesn’t work in nature, it just doesn’t work. When I paint silk, which I do frequently, I stare out at my lovely mountain view and take my cue from that vision. I am also constantly inspired by the many brilliant tapestry weavers out there.
Is there anything special you do to get into the right mindset and get the creative juices flowing?
Not really since being creative is my primary outlet and I practice it on a daily basis. Even when I am not feeling creative, I will practice my art daily. Just the act of working on something every day opens one up to new discoveries. Most of what I do is really repetitive and often the creative bursts are fairly rare. However, it’s the constant doing that leads to the eventual creative breakthroughs. And if that doesn’t work, I ride my horse or my bike!
How do you deal with creativity blocks?
I just plow through them. I know that maybe ten percent of what I do is really creative. The rest is just repeating an old chorus. But you can, for example, weave a tapestry even when you aren’t feeling that creative tug, since it’s usually been planned and allows for you to just go under and over, under and over. And then you can always rip it out!
What is one tip you would give other creatives?
Just do it. Don’t talk about it too much. Don’t just collect supplies. Use them. Don’t hoard special materials for the future. Use them. That gorgeous gold thread you bought ten years ago. Find it and use it now!
In other words, don’t compromise, don’t hesitate, don’t hold back. Just do it.
What is your favourite, colour, book, song, food and place?
Favourite colour is not one but a combination, salmon, sage green, magenta and a bit of yellow. My favourite book, that’s a hard one! I have read a lot of books, so I will pick the first book that ever rocked my world: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Amelia by Joni Mitchell is my favourite song and I love spicy food, complicated, fresh ingredients with Corsica being my favourite place in the world.
I have to confess I am smitten with these looms and own one myself, so I am a little biased. However, I want to encourage you to take a look at the Mirrix website, even if you aren’t a weaver! You can also find Mirrix on Ravelry and read more at their blog.