We’ve been spending a lot of time with Claire and Johnny as we stay parked outside their place near Peria. As well as inspiring us with her wooden-spoon-making, Claire has shown us that we can surround ourselves with beauty wherever we are (and it doesn’t have to cost the earth!).
Brioni and Claire have found some material that they both like, and Claire uses it when sewing a skirt for Brioni. Claire found her Swiss-made sewing machine in a secondhand shop for $20.
Claire says that her grandmother Opal (pictured on the left) is the one who started Claire on the path to collecting beautiful things. Opal and her sister Peggy were picking hops for making beer in the early 1900s in Oregon State. Never one to let beauty be unappreciated, Claire picked the white anemones from the garden of a vacant house.
Claire has been collecting these gorgeous buttons for about twenty years. Sometimes she buys secondhand clothes just for the buttons, and when the opportunity presents itself, she gives her new clothes "a button job". When not on display, Claire keeps her button collection in a glass jar which looks beautiful as it sits on a table in the living room.
Putting things into jars is an affordable way to decorate. The embroidery threads and sewing bits mean that like items stay together while also brightening up the room. Claire says that this paisley dish is something she found in a secondhand shop, and it's the kind of style that she likes.
Claire bought handmade pottery from a local Port Townsend, Washington artist when she lived there. All the pieces tell a story, and Claire has been able to hold onto these items as she has travelled halfway around the world.
The artist Carianna Schreitz has some pieces available online.
This painting is a watercolour from the Port Townsend, Washington artist Kate Jenks. The artist painted this picture after her travels in Ireland. Claire studied bronze-working with Kate Jenks one summer.
Now an accomplished metalworker, Kate Jenks has some pieces for sale online.
Claire says that pretty much all she invests in are things from the earth. She appreciates the natural beauty of stone, pottery, wool, linen and wood. She tries to buy things that she feels so connected with that she would like to have them forever. Rejecting the planned obsolescence of many modern items, Claire favours antiques and natural products wherever possible.
Wherever Claire is, she sets up beautiful things in her spaces so she can look at them and appreciate them. Claire says that these things provide a lovely, healing space which reminds her of who she is and where she comes from.
We’ve been so inspired by our weeks with Claire. If you’d like to see more of Claire’s amazing style and beauty, you can find her on Facebook and Pinterest.