March 6, 2019, at 2:45pm
In the run-up to International Women's Day, we are profiling inspirational female OUs. In the third of the series, we spoke to Clare Brownlow (L 00), a globally exhibited artist, whose work has featured in artistic hotbeds like LA, New York, London and Singapore. She uses pheasant feathers and inks to capture aspects of nature in a unique and intriguing style.
About her work, she says:
“I only ever dreamed that I could make a career out of my passion. I was at home with my parents in 2009 with a tiny baby and just picked up a feather from a vase in my parents’ kitchen, cutting it like a quill. After dipping it in some ink, the art just flowed – unpredictable and energetic and I loved it!”. I get a real buzz when see pictures of my work in people’s home and often disbelieving how far that piece has travelled.”
Clare has twice been shortlisted for Wildlife Artist of The Year. She has worked in collaboration with Edinburgh Zoological Society and Really Wild Clothing. As well as online, you can find Clare exhibiting at Cheltenham, the Game Fair and Burghley.
We asked Clare about her experiences of being a woman in business and achieving that all important balance:
OU Team: What challenges have you faced as a woman?
Clare: As a woman running your own business you need to be strong, fearless and determined. The biggest challenge as a woman is trying to juggle the roles of Mother and businesswoman. I have two amazing boys as well as a third child, my business, which is certainly the most spoilt, time consuming of the three!
OU team: How were you able to turn your passion into a purpose?
Clare: I was so lucky in the fact that my passion happens to be something that no-one else does. No-one else paints with a pheasant feather and that got the attention of my customers by doing something different. Social Media has been a massive business driver for me also – it’s been a fab way to get your paintings across to a big audience.
OU team: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in business today?
Clare: Be different and listen to what people want from you. Balance your family and business time. Be creative and determined and believe in yourself. If people say “you can’t”, use that as fuel to drive you forward! I was told by someone close to me, that you can’t be taken seriously as an artist as well as a business woman. Rubbish! In addition to global exhibitions, I’ve sold directly to clients all over the world. I am one of those really annoying people, if you tell me I can’t my answer is “watch me!” If you have a great unique idea and you believe in it there is nothing stopping you! GO for it!!
Thank you Clare for your time and personal insights. See her website www.clarebrownlow.co.uk or follow @pheasantfeatherart
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter and we would love to hear how you are helping to achieve this. If you would like to share your story and tell us how you champion equality, please let us know via our Social Media channels:
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