There's a cliché about still waters running deep, usually meant to describe someone who appears serene on the surface but whose emotional depth or passion is far stronger. If …
There's a cliché about still waters running deep, usually meant to describe someone who appears serene on the surface but whose emotional depth or passion is far stronger. If you've ever met Claire Haye, the idea seems unusually apropos.
Haye is the subject of a new show titled "Clay Then and Now," which opens with a reception Saturday (Oct. 6), 5-7 p.m., at Magpie Gallery in the Overland Ranch Compound, 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte in El Prado. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Most people will know Haye as a fine jewelry-maker, probably from visiting her lovely shop, Claireworks, in Arroyo Seco. But, back when she started out as an artist in the late 1970s, she made a name for herself in clay. Haye's ceramic work, as described in a Magpie press release refers to this work as "equally as whimsical and skillfully executed as her work in metal."
"For the first 10 years of her studio life in Taos," the release contionues, "Haye devoted all of her energies to working in clay, rolling sheets of terra cotta and using them to make complex sculptures. She quickly became the queen of slab construction. Her big, brightly colored sculptures are theatrical and full of personality. Over the years they grew from relatively simple tabletop pieces to 7' tall figures."
Often challenged by the difficulty of constructing large ceramics, concerns with shipping, weight and breakability, Haye persevered and received much recognition for her ceramic sculpture, the release continues. Many pieces were acquired in private and public collections throughout the 1980s. One life-sized sculpture, "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries," was purchased by the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, a noted industrialist and art collector, and flown by private jet to his Paris home.
Then, in the late 1980s, after much soul searching, Haye decided to explore different mediums. Haye told Tempo Monday (Oct. 1), the urge to express herself is "more complex" than most people might realize. This is why she chooses different materials and imagery to explore ideas she feels compelled to follow. These might be in clay, in paintings, or in poetry.
Rather than defining herself as clay artist she chose the bigger umbrella of "artist", and the following period of exploration included painting, printmaking, and bronze sculpture. Fellow artist and friend, Jim Wagner, introduced her to jewelry-making and with help from artist Kit Schuetze, Haye began her jewelry career making silver pins that echoed the whimsy of her ceramic figures.
Haye's success as a jewelry designer has allowed her considerable freedom. In 1997 she opened her own gallery, Claireworks, in Arroyo Seco to showcase her creations.
In spring of 2011, a trip to Spain, with its art and tiles, inspired Haye to renew her love affair with clay. After a reinvestment in ceramic equipment, within a year she installed a 6-by-8 foot mural titled "A Tree for Arroyo Seco" in front of her gallery. She also built 12 smaller murals, which quickly found homes.
Recently, Haye installed a new 5-by-6 foot tile mural at the Habitat for Humanity Building on Salazar Road in Taos. The mural is called "Taos Quilt in Clay" and has been enthusiastically received by the community.
So excited about clay, Haye said she would jump at the chance to do another ceramic mural. "I'd even do it for free," she said. "I want my art to be accessible. There is just a need to be able to leave something behind."
"Clay Then and Now" will include some of Haye's older work. Her prize-winning sculptures, "The Cremes," will be featured. The three impressive figures are over 5' tall and certainly push the medium to its limits.
In addition, she will exhibit nine new murals available for purchase; all high fired, glazed tiles suitable for indoor or outdoor installation.
For more, call the venue at (781) 248-0166 or visit magpietaos.com.
This story is part of an ongoing series of profiles about local artists we're calling "Ricochet." It simply means that at the end of our interview with the artist, we ask them who they would suggest as the next "Ricochet" interview. Claire Haye suggested Nora Anthony.
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