Meet Your Maker Monday: Claire Webb
Claire Webb has quickly become one of our favorite jewelry artists in town, and we're not embarrassed to admit we're harboring a pretty big crafty-crush on her! We caught up with Claire recently at her studio inside El Rincon on the east side and asked her about her crafty life.
HMS: The basics: what is your name, company, URL, and social media links?
I am running under my own name right now, but was previously under Pocket & Spark, which is the name of my Etsy shop.
HMS: What do you make?
CW: I make jewelry and art inspired by the tradition of jewelry making. My work is a mixture of what is sometimes referred to as “art jewelry”--which is more experimental or conceptual--and jewelry that is especially wearable and retail focused. Making jewelry allows me to create objects that interact with individual people in very specific ways. Jewelry is meant to be kept; it is meant to be worn. It is treasured in a way that other decorative objects are often not. I think this is partly because jewelry carries and exhibits cultural and historical associations, things like power, magic, and social status: good jewelry has an aura to it, even before we put it on. But it is not limited by these cultural associations: jewelry graciously accepts our personal and sentimental associations and holds them tight for us in an often small, durable, and finely wrought form. This form, especially if it is made of materials that have a relative permanence, lend that permanence to the love and experiences we imbue it with even as our lives change constantly and eventually slip away from us. In this sense, jewelry defies flux with its endurance. I am less interested in the decorativeness of jewelry and more drawn by the relationship it can have to our inner life.
HMS: What does a typical day look like for you?
CW: That actually seems to be changing a lot lately! As of this writing I am still on summer vacation, so my days in the last few weeks have looked similar. I moved my shop into a studio at El Rincon Social in June which has been fantastic. The community there is full of great artist, tight knit, and super helpful. In the last few weeks I have been spending most of my day and night at the studio experimenting, filling orders, socializing, and planning for the future. My days are never very structured. I just work on checking things off my list and being as efficient as possible. I have had the most productive summer vacation in my 4 years of teaching yet. My days are about to change, however, because on August 14th I return to school to teach 9th grade art. During the school year I remain relatively productive but cannot get to the studio until late afternoon.
HMS: What is your favorite food?
CW: I LOVE food, and really love all kinds of food, but I seem to have a special passion for any dish based around macaroni and cheese. My favorite right now is the Shorty Mac from the H-Town Streats food truck.
HMS: What do you do in your spare time/what hobbies do you have?
CW: I don’t have much spare time, really. I keep myself busy doing what I love, which is I guess what hobbies are about, but I do not do things in a "hobby" way I try to do them in a super directed way. I have more irons in the fire than I will ever get to, but I like it like that. I hate being bored and I like making stuff. I also like consuming art, which includes visual art, books, and film. Also socializing; I love awesome people and what they bring to my life.
HMS: Is making your full time job? If not, how do you pay the bills?
CW: No, unfortunately. I am working towards that, but as of now I pay the bills by teaching Art 1 to 9th graders at MacArthur 9th grade school in Aldine ISD. It is a great gig and I have really enjoyed it. It is a super rewarding and stable job in which I have tons of autonomy, full ever-changing days, and lots of time off. However, I do hope to trade it for the impoverished nerve wracking life of an artist and craftsman sooner than later.
HMS: What are your long term maker goals? Are you opening a shop, launching other brands, etc?
CW: As a jeweler my immediate goals are to have work in several respectable boutiques, create interesting “art” jewelry, and to continue to do fine custom work for my customers. I would love to ultimately have a fully flushed out design house with a storefront and a staffed shop.
I am also passionate about helping other people make things whenever I can. I have a side project that I hope to move forward soon called Make Stuff Houston which will be a non-profit organization that focuses on taking people with creative project ideas and connecting them with people who have the talent, expertise and resources to help them turn their ideas into finished products.
HMS: Personal project plug: what about Houston Makerspace makes you the most excited?
CW: I have deeply and personally felt the need for a place like Houston Makerspace in Houston for years! In truth, Make Stuff Houston was originally conceived as exactly that kind of endeavor, so I am ecstatic that Houston Makerspace is in the works. A space that provides the community with access to tools and equipment not only gives a physical space for artists to do bigger and better things, but also gives creative minds space to open up and push their imagination further than perhaps previously possible.
HMS: What advice do you have for aspiring makers?
CW: Make what you want to make, do it all the time, and do it well. Don’t dwell on your audience; it leads to inauthentic artwork, which is usually boring.