Clare Fowler grew up on an island just outside of St. John’s. as a young woman she would explore the woods and cliffs of her island and in those places she was offered a beautiful and balanced place to collect and sort her thoughts on the world she was entering into.
she learned to knit from her grandmother and the family would spend much time picking berries, trouting and ice fishing as a young mother she was drawn back to her passion for craft and took to the textiles program at CNA. there she was introduced to seal fur as a making-material. people were wowed by her seal-fur trimmed baby bunting bag and mittens, and Clare Dawn Studios was born.
Clare loves to combine different textiles and find new and unexpected uses for the traditional material of seal fur. her bestsellers are the earrings, coin purses, and bowties, and the sweaters are gaining traction. Clare Dawn also applies creativity to making the goodies more accessible and affordable, so that more people can experience the unique material with a long and important history in our province. “seal fur is one of those things that’s iconically Newfoundland, something that’s always been here, and that many can connect with,” she says.
Clare gets a lot of opportunity to talk to both the community and visitors from away about her work – there’s lots of healthy and interesting conversation about the use of seal fur. Clare wants people to know that the fur is sustainably harvested from a species that (despite common misconception) is not endangered or at risk, and that it’s harvested and processed entirely in the province. "this means a lower carbon footprint and it does not run the risk of disrupting marine life migration patterns with shipping," says Clare.
collaboration is huge for Clare Dawn Studios and she sees much of it in her future. she also hopes to grow her business and continue experimenting with different fabrics and materials.
photos courtesy of Jared Reid and Peter Dawe.
check out our Facebook Live at the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation featuring Clare Dawn.