Textile Artist Clare Ormerod on the Divine Feminine, Spiritual Stitching & Castle Life

Textile artist Clare Ormerod's work is showing in an exhibition at The College of Psychic Studies in summer 2024. Here, she reveals her inspirations, spiritual practices and daily routine...

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

Textile artist Clare Ormerod lives in Huntington Castle in Ireland's Clonegal village. This 17th-century garrison, crowned with crenellations and skirted by emerald lawns, is no 'ordinary' castle. Since 1976, it has been the seat of the Fellowship of Isis, a nucleus of divine feminine energy. And beneath its majestic stone structure, in the castle's basement, is the Temple of the Goddess Isis, dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian goddess. In this interview ahead of her exhibition at the College, Clare reveals how the energy of her surroundings influences her artwork and spiritual practice...

How did you first come to know the divine feminine?

"When I moved to Ireland, there was an energy here that I hadn't experienced anywhere else. Here, at Huntington Castle where I live with my husband and three children, there has always been a strong spiritual energy and everyone here seems to be a creative in some way and tuning into the powerful force of the divine feminine."

Which spiritual practices do you lean into?

"As I mentioned, the divine feminine is a very important energy here and is central to so many aspects of life; The study of mother nature; Druidry and the connection to the 'otherworld' and the Wheel of the Year which we experience around us every day; And also of course, my own creative process, which is very meditative."

Has your work changed since you moved to Ireland?

"Yes! When I moved to Ireland my work changed quite dramatically. I think it's a combination of being surrounded by nature and the special energy and spirituality of where we live. I was lucky enough to get to know [Founder of the Fellowship of Isis & its Temple] Olivia Durdin Robertson, who was a great inspiration. She lived at Huntington with us and she painted and wrote with such huge energy all her life. Well into her 96th year, she was still painting and creating altars in the temple in the basement, which is her amazing legacy. I started to make drawings which were so exciting and new, and over the years not only has my work evolved but also the mediums that I use."

How did your passion for fabric and needlework begin?

"I have always loved textiles. It was around 2019/2020 when I really started to embrace textiles. I have painted and drawn all my life but textiles really have always intrigued me - and then during the first lockdown I made my first large quilt. I suddenly had more time to slow down and really embrace fabrics and stitching. It was here that I really found the repetitive process of stitching as meditation and to calm my mind amid all the chaos of the world around us."

What does a day in the life of Clare Ormerod look like?

"The day starts with a walk - usually I go down a farm track past my favourite beech tree which grows on an old earthen bank. All the roots are exposed and it has a magical network of roots and moss spreading over the bank. It's great to be able to walk outside and stay in touch with nature. After breakfast most of the morning is spent in the studio - reading, sketching and planning new work. Some of my large work takes months and months to make, so it's slow going but stitching is meant to be slow.

After lunch I will go on a longer walk, usually down to the River Derry which in Irish (An Dhoire) means The River of The Oak. I find the river and the woods really inspiring and the nature you see is a special treat - I usually see plenty of swans and herons but if I'm really lucky I might see a kingfisher, otter or a red squirrel. It's a time when I can connect back with nature, see what's changed and evolved as every season has something special to inspire.

I am usually back in the studio for a few hours in the afternoon. I quite often spend time moving pieces around to see how they work and speak to each other within a larger piece of work. I am usually working on a few different projects and have different desks for different mediums, so some days I might be painting while others might be more textile-based. It can get quite busy!

The evening usually consists of more stitching after supper - as I think there is nothing nicer than curling up with the fire and stitching away, especially on a cold, winter's night."

How did you discover The College of Psychic Studies?

"I came here years ago for a reading with a clairvoyant, but then came here more recently for a talk with Jennifer Higgie and her new book."

How did your exhibition at the College come about?

"Rachel Thomas (Chief Curator at the Hayward Gallery) came up with the idea about having a show here as she thought it would be a great fit - we then we got in touch with the College's Archivist & Curator Vivienne Roberts and College Principal Gill Matini, who kindly agreed to the idea!"

What advice would you give a budding spirit-inspired artist?

"Draw draw draw - just keep drawing. So many exciting things come from drawings before you even start to think about painting or other mediums."

Quickfire round:

Coffee or tea or...? Tea

Favourite movie or book? Jennifer Higgie The Other Side: A journey into Women, Art and the Spirit world

Song that holds the most memories for you? Fleetwood Mac Everywhere

Go-to breakfast? Porridge

Top travel destination? Ireland

1 thing you can't live without? Pen and paper

Star sign? Capricorn

Don't miss Clare Ormerod's Exhibition:

Banner with link to Clare Ormerod's exhibition

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