What is Practising?
Practising is a newsletter about trying, desperately and imperfectly, to revive and maintain an art practice. I’ll share what I’m working on, what I’m struggling with, and also what I’m reading, listening to, and looking at to keep me going. My hope is that it will motivate or even just comfort anyone for whom making is necessary to their well-being, especially if they find it difficult to balance making with the rest of life, as I clearly do.
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Clara Congdon (she/her) is an artist based in Montreal, Canada whose practice includes textiles, drawing, painting, artists’ books, and mail art. She holds a BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 2018, Clara exhibited Possessions, a series of body-themed textile works, at Galerie Monastiraki in Montreal, Quebec in a two-person exhibition with Asma A. Khan. Her cloth-based artist book Want to buy some illusions?, inspired by the art of drag and responses to a cryptic Craigslist ad, was included in the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists’ Guild (CBBAG)’s touring exhibition Art of the Book 2018. Clara recorded the days between her twenty-fifth and thirtieth birthdays through tactile calendars made one square at a time based on different parameters each month. Pieces from the Calendars project have been featured by the Owens Art Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick, Le Livart in Montreal, and Brooklyn Art Library in New York.
Clara was one of twenty artists selected to participate in the first edition of Artch, Montreal’s annual outdoor exhibition of emerging contemporary art, and was invited in 2020 to present an artist talk about her incorporation of textiles with bookmaking as part of the the third edition of Montreal’s art book fair, Volume MTL. Clara publishes a personal zine called L’oubli using collected imagery from her various processes, as well as a collaborative zine called You Betcha Iris which profiles members of Montreal’s drag community. YBI is stocked by the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), Printed Matter Inc. in New York, and Fiend in Melbourne, Australia.
Most recently, Clara participated in the Can Serrat International Contemporary Art Residency in El Bruc, Spain, where she hand-sewed a patchwork curtain for her bedroom window and stitched cloth postcards depicting small human interventions observed throughout the town.