Claire Manwani is originally from London, where she started learning pottery at a local arts centre in 1982. She also studied for a while at Sir John Cass School of Art. Eventually Claire Manwani ended up working at the arts centre for 6 years, after which she ran a pottery studio with a couple of friends for about 2 years. Then Claire moved to the Highlands, where she potted for 7 years, and in 2009 she moved to Lowestoft and has been potting here ever since.
CM: I’ve always been artistic; before I discovered pottery I used to paint. My first attempts at pottery, like most people’s, were awful! But I loved it and was hooked from Day 1, so I persevered. And eventually I got better at it!
AP: Where did you gain new knowledge about pottery?
CM: I learned everything I needed to know from the pottery tutors at Island Arts, which sadly no longer exists. They not only showed me how to make pots, but how to fire them and how to run a studio.
AP: What genre are your works? How would you describe them?
CM: I make mostly functional ware, as I think people are happier to buy items they feel are useful rather than just something that’s pretty to look at. I think my animal soap dishes are quite unusual – I haven’t seen anything like them anywhere else. They’re very popular and a lot of fun!
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use?
CM: I have an Alsager electric wheel for making my thrown work, a nice big wooden table for general work like rolling out clay or glazing, and I have two electric kilns for firing my work.
CM: I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I feel I’m very competent in what I do. I don’t think artists of any kind ever stop learning about their genre. I am however a professional potter – I do this full time and am self-employed.
CM: I get out and about to as many events and craft fairs as I can, and I do as much networking with other artists as I can. One of my doggy soap dishes can be seen on the partially animated Andrex TV advert with the little puppy dog in his apartment.
AP: Is there someone who helps you in your creativity?
CM: I live with my dad, who’s very supportive of my creativity. I also have some brilliant friends in the local artistic community in Lowestoft, and we all support each other.
[flagallery gid=5 name=”Gallery”]
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- Drawings by Irtsya Boyko: the Game of Black and White Colors
- Cute Illustrations by Jerrod Maruyama
- Contemporary Portrait Paintings by George Jennings