Sculpting In Steel
Clare Bigger has created super-sized, award-winning public art and has received many prestigious private and corporate commissions during her three decades as a professional sculptor. Photography: Kat Weatherill
The work of talented sculptor Clare Bigger can be seen all over the world – from Australia to the Italian Alps and, closer to home, she has public works of art on display throughout the UK and private works that have been commissioned to feature in gardens and prestigious homes.
Working in collaboration with private individuals, designers, architects and landscape gardeners, as well as local authorities and national and international companies, Clare’s award-winning sculptures range from statuesque figures, to animals that display a beauty and fluidity that Clare manages to capture in her work.
“I am inspired by nature,” she explains. “I have modelled many birds as they hold a special fascination for me. It is especially challenging trying to capture the movement of a bird in flight creating something that fights against gravity.”
Based at Trapp Forge in Simonstone, where she has a studio and gallery, Clare has been a professional sculptor for more than three decades, during which time she has created some stunning pieces of public art including an 8.5m landmark sculpture of Olympian Greg Rutherford (2014) marking the entry point into Milton Keynes from the M1.
“Generally the basic process is exactly the same regardless of the size of the piece, although working with steel and creating larger pieces, which can be up to 10m can sometimes be challenging as I am only 5ft 3.”
For private individuals or public and corporate work, Clare will discuss ideas with each client, their preferences, likes and dislikes. She will then produce a maquette, a small-scale model, of the final piece.
“A maquette is like a 3D sketch – the challenge begins when I decide how much I am going to scale it up. The maquette gives a really good idea of how the final piece will look,” adds Clare, who can also advise on siting the installation or the supply of the foundation or plinths if required.
Working in stainless steel to produce figurative pieces, Clare was recently invited to appear on a BBC series Home is Where the Art is presented by Nick Knowles.
She was one of three artists challenged to create a piece of art for a lady who was devoted to her horse, Dragon.
“I wanted to encapsulate the very close bond between horse and rider in the sculpture and to show the strength and fluidity of his musculature,” recalls Clare.
“It is often the movement of an animal or person that appeals to me. I absolutely love ballet and capturing the grace of the dancers. I love the flow and the energy, the beauty of it is amazing,” adds Clare, who is currently working on three-quarter life size sculptures of ballet dancers that she hopes to show this year at Beaulieu.
Some of her international commissions include a set of three life-size sporting figures, which were shipped to Australia, and also a life-size wolf commissioned by private clients living in the Italian Alps.
Clare has exhibited her work internationally and throughout the UK – she has been involved in the Royal Horticultural Society’s show gardens in Hampton Court and Chelsea and closer to home, Clare is also the artist that created the Sikka deer in Brungerley Park in Clitheroe and the three fishes sculptures in Whalley.
Looking ahead, Clare plans to show her work in a group bird exhibition at Contemporary Six Gallery in Manchester this May: “Among others I will be including a barn owl and peregrine falcon that I have made this year.”
Some of Clare’s private work is commissioned to mark a special occasion: “After all these years I still really love what I do,” says Clare, who has a BA Hons in Fine Art from Cardiff. “I am also very lucky to have worked on many big pieces of public art and won awards along the way.”
If you are interested in discussing a commission with Clare or would like information on upcoming exhibitions, please see her contact details below.