Q & A with Claire
What do you love about your work?
My first thought in answering this question is how fortunate I am to be involved in the work I love.
I love craft, heritage has meaning to me. It is important to me that I help my clients embrace the past in their spaces and look to present ideas which can be of benefit in creating a longer-term experience.
I do follow trends and the ideas generated are a great source for my inspiration, in saying this I am very aware that Instagram has contributed to the transient nature of trends which can be limiting.
I like the creative process, the research – pulling it all together, the infinite possibilities and solutions. My work allows a space for collaboration where each individual has their own voice and the combination of ideas leads to more interesting solutions.
What has been your personal journey and how it has brought you to this?
I grew up in a home where artists like Armando Baldinelli, Eduardo Villa and Stella Magni popped in for lunch. I remember hiding underneath the large dining room table with my older brother and we would eavesdrop on their provocative conversations.
My mother was a high-end fashion model in the 60’s, a food stylist in the 70’s working for local publications like Fair Lady, she opened a successful interior design studio in the 80’s.
I wanted to be an archaeologist as a teenager, but this did not materialise, I matriculated and ended up travelling. Italy stole my heart and I found myself asking questions about the choices we make in designing an environment, the spaces we choose to live in and the emphasis we place on the colours we select and items we own and ultimately become attached to. On my return and inspired by all things Italian I attended a paint effects workshop where I was schooled for a month. I found an interest something I could put my heart and soul into.
My first real job was working for my super organised Mother. Her business exposed me to corporate projects, and it was during this time I found that I was most attracted to the colour aspect. I could feel the space and listen to my intuition, there is an inner knowing I experience, and I am able to translate that feeling into the creation of beauty. This wisdom had the power to transform the energy and feeling of an environment. My first big break as a decorative painter was being awarded the South African Brewery Training centre paint contract.
If any individual inspired me to take the creative journey it was my talented Mother, she still has enormous style and an incredible eye for colour. I inherited the colour genes from her! I am a wackier version of her – My middle name is eclectic Claire.
1988,1989, 2000, 2001 – Garden and Home Academy Workshops – I worked as a freelancer and Plascon sponsored the paint finishing courses. Plascon marketing Dept sent me to Zambia to give workshops using the Expressions colours.
1992,1993 – Garden and Home approached me to share my paint effects knowledge which resulted in quarterly features showing step by step how to create marble, Antique Patina, stencilling and many other popular effects at the time.
I started my business as a direct result of the Garden and Home Academy Workshops. The workshops brought in residential and corporate projects. Paint effects were new to SA, South Africa was waiting for the imminent release of Nelson Mandela and there was a sense of joy in the air at that time.
During this time I collaborated with my dear friends Fotini & Leonard Moyo who sadly passed away 2 years back. – Fotini is well known for her magical murals and paint effects, together we worked with a kitchen company, painting hand painted kitchens. We named our company Fantasy Finishes. Work we completed:-
• Standard Bank Branches nationwide
• The Firs in Rosebank – Stuttafords Entrance
• Gallagher Estate
• Hyatt Hotel
In 2002 I married, moved to a farm, and gave birth to my daughter Georgina.
I handed my business contacts over to Leonard and Fotini, who respectively opened there own studios.
I missed the city and the ability to earn my keep, in 2005 I was offered an interview by the Plascon Brand returned to JHB – I was appointed as their Showroom Manger, a very exciting part of my life. The “Plascon Living Concepts” Showroom was a first of its kind, state of the art showroom, Apple computers used software which inserted colour into interior and exterior walls. You got to know a colour before you painted it! A real first in the industry. This successful colour store was renamed Spaces showroom in 2010.
I Managed the showroom for 5 years from 2005 – 2010 – It was during my time running the showroom I realised I could tune into an individual’s energy field and select the correct colour to uplift them. I could pick up sadness, grief. People felt comfortable working with me. This is where I started to get interested in learning more about colour and psychology. I only realised a couple of years into my corporate career that it was my intuition guiding me to make certain choices. The intuitive in me, makes me good at interpreting what a client feels they want from a room or a space.
Colour works different parts of us. It helps us connect with our beauty or our anger! Art and colour selection give me a range of feelings and allows me to engage with life.
In 2009 I moved positions within the company and was able to travel throughout Africa as a brand ambassador, giving continuous development talks to architects. I focused on paint trend palettes, colour therapy and colour branding. This was my watershed moment – I had to develop the confidence to address large audiences. Giving talks to small groups of people was more comfortable than educating a group of 200 professionals. This was seriously intimidating and really challenged me!
In 2019, I presented “Future Colour Trends” abroad, to the Indonesian market.
I started a new chapter in 2020. I opened Bondthrucolour focusing on paint textures and paint contracting. At the same time I joined Blackboard Jungle bespoke rugs as their South African Business Partner.
What are your personal joys in life?
My daughter’s curiosity, she teaches me about hard work and determination!
Early mornings, I like the silence and the transition of dark into light.
Swimming, I am drawn to the ocean – I would love to learn to surf in this lifetime!
Happy gatherings, soul food, dancing just my own happy dance solo in my lounge.
I love to scout for new places that bring me unexpected surprises
In life what is important to you.
Sensory delights – The beauty of a single perfect petal, the movement and transparency of water.
I need beautiful surroundings to function – if I had to live in prefab space, step 1 would be to plant trees all around me. I need the energy of trees.
Generosity & Sharing Kindness always (:
How what you do has relevance in this time
Art, music, and architecture are getting some long-due attention from neuroscientists as they probe the brain’s capacity to understand the world through the senses. I believe that beauty in the environment, and among humans, is necessary for the survival and health of Homo sapiens, just as it is among other members of the animal kingdom. Neuroscience has proved that patterns, textures and colour provide needed cues that allow humans to negotiate their environment.
Why is colour psychology relevant?
I feel we are living in a world where our authenticity is buried so deep it is hard to articulate honestly what you really like and stand for. Social platforms and the media distract us from our unique perspective and truth. Colour is a type of medicine we all have at our disposal, it connects us to our moods and our feelings, the colours you love vs the colour you reject speak volumes about your inner psyche. I believe Colour is a part of nature that heals us, it is a healing modality we need to start embracing.
Within a business interior, using colour therapeutic guidelines I can help a receptionist feel calmer dealing with incessant calls and enable a sales team doing cold calls, handle daily rejection better.
What Is your most memorable moment in your personal life and how it impacted your work life.
There were 3 memorable moment that effected how I adapted ………………….?????
1. Living in East Africa for a year, working with 2 exceptional interiors designers from SA,
collaborating with artist Sarah Clarke and her sister Kate Clarke – another watershed moment! 2. Having an opportunity to travel to the Caribbean, seeing and feeling the different
flavours between the French side and the Dutch Antilles side. 3. Moving to a farm in a beautiful part of Free State, getting to see the seasons pass by,
experiencing drought and the reality farmers’ face and deal with year in and decade out. Exploring golden gate having, my patio view every day of the Maluti mountains,
the peace I experienced on icy winter mornings, Finksburg temperatures dropped well below zero and my husband at the time had to wrap sack cloth around the water pipes to stop the water freezing which sometimes worked and other times did not
Your studies and the relevant to your journey
In 2016 I decided to elevate my colour knowledge, I had known about a course through my colleagues at Plascon, and I was luckily enough to complete the 1-year diploma through correspondence. I now can proudly claim I have a diploma in Colour Therapeutics form the Iris School of Colour in Devon Unite Kingdom.
How has and does your colour psychology impacted your life?
My year-long diploma course was incredible, it allowed me to go deeper into understanding how we respond to colour. The missing piece to design is understanding the emotional connection the client wants to have with the space and translating that into the correct combination of tints, tones and chroma.
From the brand to a client; as a trained interior designer, do you think that value can be added to a project by understanding the colour psychology and perceptions of the client?
Imagine being able to work with a client to influence the types of behaviors they want to exhibit, and they want others to exhibit in their space.
Within a home it can create spaces that support open communication, harmony, physical health and, dare I say it, even passion.
Clients are more savvy than ever before and it’s only a matter of time before they are askin
– seeing the effect of colour (be it in a painted work of art, a coloured wall, pigmented floor, wool tufted rug) in a space and the impact it has on the décor.