This week, we were lucky enough to be able to speak with author, illustrator and pattern designer, Clare Therese Gray, who was in the process of painting our Hand-Turned Wooden Eggs with poetic scenes of Scottish flora and fauna for Easter.
Surrounded by palettes filled with the custom hues she has created for the eggs, which are based upon an earthy interpretation of the shades found in our Fife Arms house tartan. The most beautiful ink sketches adorn every inch of the walls and enchantment seems to linger in the air.
When studying Fine Art Painting at Norwich University of the Arts, Clare centred upon large scale nudes and abstracts, however, it was when she trained for her postgraduate degree at the Royal Drawing School in London that her focus returned to the art of drawing once more. The natural world is now an enduring inspiration for Clare's work and one which she draws from in her wonderful everyday, living on a farm in rural Hampshire with her husband and children. Influence of the incredible landscape that surrounds her and the glorious palette it conjures, flow throughout her creations.
Clare's work is wide ranging, encompassing textile design, printing, paper craft, packaging and homewares - and now eggs! She first took her hand to paint real duck eggs that she had 'blown' herself - for the Fife Arms, she is illustrating onto wooden eggs, scenes of wild Scotland and drawing upon the botanics and life that can be found in the rolling glens surrounding the hotel.
From our national flower, the proud thistle, to our native Highland mountain bird, the ptarmigan, Clare will often draw her scenes in pencil (which you may spot, charmingly peeking through the paint) before working over the top with acrylic gouache, which gives a matte waterproof finish and is a medium she adores.
She loosely takes inspiration from the patterns of the great Victorian wallpaper designer, William Morris, who derived his arrangements from natural forms.
Painting each egg takes Clare up to one and a half hours to complete - a process she finds relaxing, meditative and natural - "all I ever wanted to do was make patterns".
Our timeless Wooden Eggs are ready to hatch.
Portrait photo by Hannah Renaud