After studying Fashion Design at RMIT and working in brand management and design studios within the Australian fashion industry, Clare chose to become a teacher because, ‘Education is an oracle for future thinking.
‘I wanted to contribute to design culture in a meaningful way; empowering the next generation of designers to create ideas that have integrity, creativity and generate cultural change.’
At Fintona, Clare teaches VCE Visual Communication Design and Year 10 design-focused electives including Fashion and Architecture.
What makes you so passionate about teaching design? My life is centred in the pursuit of design, culture and beauty. Teaching design is an embodied experience for me.
You have a design practice outside of Fintona, could you tell us more about that? I design, pattern make and sew a range of garments. My designs are often an extension of my own style and pieces I would like to wear and have in my own wardrobe. My approach is to create new garment styles slowly and intentionally rather than in line with traditional fashion seasons, often my designs are made-toorder. I use deadstock fabric to minimise environmental impact. When designing garments my aesthetic interests are texture, sculptural forms and silhouettes, and consideration of modular garments that can sync with an existing wardrobe offering longevity and functionality. You will often see me wearing clothes I’ve designed and made, to work. I also work collaboratively with my mother on a range of jewellery.
How does this practice support your teaching? Maintaining a personal design practice is critical to my teaching practice. It allows me to empathise with students because I understand the creative process and the ebbs and flows of design thinking. Personal design practice also facilitates constant professional development. I believe visual arts educators are most powerful when there is a coalescence of practice and teaching. I am involved in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education TAP project, a longitudinal study on teacher participation in art and design practice.
Who and/or what inspires you?
Lidewij Edelkoort. Vivienne Westwood. Central Saint Martins. The Venice Biennale. Museums and galleries. Some favourites are The Tate and the VandA in London, The Met and FIT in New York, MoMu Antwerp and Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Palais Galliera, Paris.
What do you hope the future of teaching art and design looks like? I hope there is enhanced scope for students to speculate and identify design opportunities, igniting their forecasting and forward thinking. Design has the power to improve quality of life, define our culture and address contemporary issues. We need to provide students the agency to experiment and deliver innovation.