Claire Millett Lima is a mixed media sculpture artist who was raised in the coastal town of Newport, Oregon. In 1995, at age 16, she dropped out of highschool so she could focus on her education.
From her dad she learned that being an artist is a way of seeing the world.
From her mom she learned that art materials grow on trees.
From her backyard she learned that weeds tell stories of cultural survival
From her hometown she learned that outcasts and misfits offer secret wisdom
From the ocean she learned that she is nothing and everything
From the forest she learned the power of reflection and solitude
From her travels she learned that unassuming places can hold immense power
From her thief she learned to be comfortable with uncertainty
From her guides she learned to see beyond the lens of her opinions
From her children she learned to follow the path of play and curiosity
My sculptures explore our human tendencies to cast judgments and form limiting beliefs and invite the viewer to challenge their perceptions of good and bad, thereby broadening connections to place and community.
I demonstrate this through the story of society’s relationship with common urban “weeds” and “invasives”. They are often labeled as problems to be eradicated but these warrior plants not only pioneer and regenerate inhospitable soils that have been disturbed due to human activity, but they are also underutilized sources of food and medicine. These plants surround us in urban landscapes and allow us the opportunity to foster relationships and positive associations with our surroundings.
My process begins with the act of making friends with the places these plants grow… along roadways, under power lines and around construction sites. After harvesting, I begin felting, weaving or wrapping the plants in various fibrous materials. The sculptures that emerge are lavish, harmonious forms which endeavor to counteract and therefore balance the lens through which these plants are seen. The sculptures surfaces are alive with texture and topographical elements, sometimes meandering and sometimes gridlike, to represent my physical journey and solidify the importance of placemaking. Shimmering gold and copper embellishments symbolize the higher frequencies where unity and understanding are experienced.