Claire Spector is a legally blind contemporary textile artist. She sews by feel.
The exhibition explores different textile techniques and follows Claire’s journey of stepping out into a wider world after becoming blind suddenly and without warning. Through the medium of contemporary textile art, the exhibition highlights everything from Claire’s first collaborative touch sewing projects in 2005 to more recent independent explorations.
Read Claire’s artist statement below:
“I am a legally blind contemporary textile artist. Since 2005, my near vision is multiple, misaligned and unstable. I am very sensitive to light, motion and geometric patterns. I walk with a red and white cane and use assistive technology.
When I was quite young, my artist mother Barbara taught me to sew by hand, to knit, draw and make prints. Hand-sewing teaches patience. Piecing-by-hand is a meditation…a sense memory of visual close work now guided by touch. My fingers reference edges, seams and tactile embroidery spirals I sew following a flow. Work progresses organically, a bit at a time.
I sew with cotton, linen, wool and silk scraps, remnants and deconstructed clothing using good cotton thread, short #10 quilting and big-eyed Sashiko needles, Perle cotton 8 embroidery thread, sharp cuticle scissors, glass-head pins and a treasured Japanese pin cushion.
The reassuring click of a Clover needle threader and the quiet of hand-sewing is a welcome break from synthesized assistive technology voices and the sewing machine. Sharing art created in this fashion opens dialogues and opportunities to explore new possibilities, learn about resources and discover creative workarounds for a more vibrant life.
This work, like all of my work made by feel, flows one piece at a time.
There is no initial design or visual plan.
One piece follows another in the moment.
It is an exercise in patience, humility, and a willingness to deconstruct, revisit and discover.
It’s a lesson in balance, taking a break, and awaiting fresh directions.
It’s a creative journey beyond adversity, frustration and an opening to happiness.”
The show is inspired by conversations about blind identity, art-making, and accessibility, with Anthony Tusler, Georgina Kleege, Karen Berniker, Cecile Puretz, Dr. Stanley Yarnell, MD, Jennifer Sachs, Greg Kehret.
This art show is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles.
The show is dedicated to the memory Claire’s dear friend, the artist Reese Thornton.