Sweeping away the two-dimensional limitations of painting, Mary-Clare Buckle's work has a tactile, three-dimensional quality and reflects her character - vibrant, colourful, effervescent and full of life.
She has developed the technique of 'Floating' felts, mounting the - ethereal and almost transparent - pieces between sheets of clear acrylic, so that light, whether ambient or intentional, interacts with them. Unlike conventional framing, the viewer's eye is not constrained to a rectangle and, hung slightly away from the wall, the pieces have the appearance of floating in three dimensions.
The artist also lights these semi-transparent pieces from behind or the side, intentionally blurring the boundaries between art and interior design. She also uses gently flashing lights to draw the viewer's attention to a piece and then momentarily divert it from the fibres to the lights themselves.
Other work includes using uv (blacklight) cold cathode tubes mounted within an acrylic frame to create an impression of space and depth - bringing into glowing focus the uv-reactive fibres in the piece, whilst plunging the background into semi-darkness.
Buckle's work is often motivationally informed by the tactile nature and pure colour of the fibre/felt medium itself - 'playing' with an array of different textures and threads and letting the medium control the design. Her main driving force has always been the intensity of colour achievable as a fibre artist, but she has recently been also exploring more minimal colours. The lit pieces are inspired by her immersion in popular culture and also particularly the clubbing scene: the fluorescent clothes, glow-sticks, lasers, flashing coloured lights and the semi-abstract moving visuals behind the DJs.
Other inspiration includes: modern film and tv production design: the way the sets are coloured and the atmosphere they evoke; mediæval artefacts; textures used in Indian/Moroccan/South American fabrics (related to various trips abroad); lacquer work; Italian glass.
The artist sometimes combines digital images with felt - eg in It's Raining Men, which was originally suggested by the Weather Girls song. She is also producing a series of pieces which highlight or parody the clichés associated with a geographical area or place - for example a British/London-themed piece with images of red phone boxes, double-decker buses, the queen, etc.
Her most recent body of work is on the theme of Britain and the British. She explored our national identity and the image of our iconic flag. This work has allowed her to work much bigger than previously (some pieces are up to 5 metres high) which she found profoundly liberating. She exhibited this work at the Mojo Gallery in Dubai and hopes to exhibit it in the UK.
Buckle's influence is spreading to the next generation of textile artists, with students worldwide studying her work. Her work is featured on the BBC Bitesize website for young people studying GCSE Textiles. Her work has been featured in publications such as Sovremenny Interior ('Modern Interiors'), a Russian Interior Design magazine. Several of her pieces have also been featured in recent books: Textiles Now, by Druscilla Cole; Creative Recycling in Embroidery, by Val Holmes and 1000 Artisan Textiles, by Sandra Salamony & Gina M Brown.
Mary-Clare Buckle was born in the Philippines, studied art and three-dimensional design at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design (Farnham) and the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) and designed and made jewellery for the initial part of her career. Her work can be viewed, all the year round, at her studio-gallery in the artists' enclave of Abbotsbury, in West Dorset, or on her retail website, www.1-art-1.com.