Claire, the visionary behind the art studio in Hainault Forest, transformed her dream into reality, creating a vibrant space for artistic expression. Specialising in colourful acrylic paintings with a focus on animal personalities, Claire draws inspiration from the tranquil surroundings. Rooted in her nostalgic connection to Chigwell Row, Claire’s craft unit has received a warm welcome from the local community, offering weekly classes and themed workshops for art enthusiasts. Her commitment to sustainability is evident through eco-friendly practices, adding to the joy her art brings to both students and visitors in the picturesque backdrop of Hainault Forest.
What inspired you to set up your craft unit in Hainault Forest?
It had been a dream of mine for a long time to have an art studio where I could work, teach and sell my artwork. When the opportunity arose in Hainault Forest, such a wonderful setting, I couldn’t pass it by!
Could you describe the specific crafts or products your unit specialises in?
I paint canvases with acrylic and often use mixed media as well. I am passionate about colour and using it creatively within my paintings. Animals have become a specialism as I just love to capture their personalities in my work. I also put my artwork onto products such as cushions and
mugs for people to buy alongside my paintings.
How does the natural environment of Hainault Forest influence or inspire your craft work?
Being in beautiful surroundings is always inspiring for an artist. It is a relaxing and calm place, which helps with creativity and is so good for well-being. I link a lot of my artwork and workshops to nature and also, being surrounded by animals, there is always a new subject to work on!
What made you choose Hainault Forest as the location for your business, and how has the community responded?
Hainault Forest holds a special place in my heart as I grew up in Chigwell Row and spent my childhood playing in the forest. I have so many happy memories here and it is a wonderful opportunity to make it a major part of my life again and give something back. The community within the forest have been very welcoming and supportive and the wider community seem thrilled to have the craft units here. They have been attending classes and workshops and returning for more, which is always a good sign!
Can you share the details of any events or workshops for children and/or adults in your unit?
I currently hold weekly painting classes for adults and children. My adults classes run on a Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm – 2.30pm and my children’s classes run on a Saturday afternoon, 4 – 7 years 1pm – 2pm and 7 – 11 year olds 2.30pm – 3.30pm. I also hold an under fives art session on Wednesdays at 1.15pm – 2.15pm. There will be more classes coming in the new year! In addition, every school holiday I run themed painting workshops, the next one being my Robin canvas painting for Christmas. There are two adults workshops on 20th December and six children’s workshops running from 21st – 23rd December.
Can you share a particularly special or significant moment you’ve experienced while operating your business in Hainault Forest?
There have been many, as it is such a happy place to be! However, chats with people who pop in to see what is going on at CappARTcino
can be very heart warming. One particular person said that I am bringing joy to people through my art, which I thought was a lovely thing to say and it makes me happy too, as that is what my art is all about, making people smile!
In what ways do you incorporate sustainability or eco-friendly practices into your craft unit operations?
I reuse and re purpose as much of my art equipment as possible and buy second hand where I can. I use eco-friendly and biodegradable packaging and other resources such as glitter. (A big part of a lot of my artwork!)
What do you find most fulfilling about running a business within Hainault Forest?
Coming to this amazing setting to do something I love with like-minded people and watching the pleasure students and visitors get from seeing my artwork and creating their own.