Art and Cultural Goings-On in Taos and Northern New Mexico

October 4 - 31, 2018

Claire Haye: Clay Then and Now

Taos: Magpie at Overland Ranch
Claire Haye: Clay Then and Now

Claire Haye has been an artist in Taos since 1978. She is now well known as a successful jeweler. This show will be an introduction for many into Haye’s ceramic work, equally as whimsical and skillfully executed as her work in metal.

For the first ten years of her studio life in Taos Haye devoted all of her energies to working in clay, rolling sheets of terra cotta and using them to make complex sculptures. She quickly became the queen of slab construction. Her big, brightly colored sculptures are theatrical and full of personality. Over the years they grew from relatively simple tabletop pieces to seven-foot tall figures.

Often challenged by the difficulty of constructing large ceramics, concerns with shipping, weight and breakability, Haye persevered and received much recognition for her ceramic sculpture. Many pieces were acquired in private and public collections throughout the eighties. One life sized sculpture, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, was purchased by Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, a noted industrialist and art collector, and flown by private jet to his Paris home.

In the late eighties, after much soul searching, Haye decided to explore different mediums. Rather than defining herself as a clay artist she chose the bigger umbrella of “artist” and the following period of exploration included painting, printmaking and bronze sculpture. Fellow artist and friend, Jim Wagner introduced her to jewelry making and with help from artist Kit Schuetze, Haye began her jewelry career making silver pins that echoed the whimsy of her ceramic figures.

Haye’s success as a jewelry designer has allowed her considerable freedom. In 1997 she opened her own Gallery, Claireworks, in Arroyo Seco to showcase her art repertory.

In spring of 2011, a trip to Spain, with its wonderful art and tiles, inspired Haye to renew her love affair with clay. After a reinvestment in ceramic equipment, within a year she installed a 6’x 8’ mural titled A Tree for Arroyo Seco in front of her gallery. She also built twelve smaller murals, which quickly found homes.

Recently Haye installed a new tile mural (5’ x 6’) at the Habitat for Humanity Building on Salazar Road in Taos. The mural is called Taos Quilt in Clay and has been enthusiastically received by the community.

Clay Then and Now will include some of Haye’s older work. Prize-winning sculptures The Creams will be featured. The three impressive figures are over five feet tall and certainly push the medium to its limits. In addition, she will exhibit nine new murals available for purchase; all high fired, glazed tiles suitable for indoor or outdoor installation.

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