Ok, you might not normally think of Iron Woman strength or physical prowess when you imagine an artist. Enter Sophie Clague. Clague takes exercise really seriously. “For one thing I need to be reasonably strong and fit to do the artwork I do safely, and it also helps me keep even and manage anxiety that can be part of the art-making and exhibiting cycle“, explains Clague “I do kung fu, yoga and swimming at the moment“.
Currently on a scholarship for her Masters, making artwork is her main drive. “It’s equal parts infuriating and amusing some of the reactions I get, as a young woman, going into stereotypically ‘male’ businesses (to buy tools, materials, or get finishes and services done). I‘m currently making fairly sizable steel sculptures which are traditionally and still are often seen as a very masculine art form.”
Clague went to a tiny primary school of 30 students and then high school in Bathurst. “I used to draw voraciously as a child, in particular huge varieties of animals in various tableaux. I started out thinking I would major in drawing and painting but got sucked into the dynamism and variety of sculpture,” explains Clague, “My sculptures are still very much like drawings though – there is a strong graphic and linear element to most of what I do. Materially, I am influenced a lot by places, but I think the family home on a farm with all the old equipment and bits and pieces all around definitely had an impact.”
Clague specifically wants to start making larger scale public works, which is why she’s really excited to be in exhibitions like Sculpture By The Sea 2016 and Eden Unearthed. “A lot of people who might not usually go into art galleries very often get to see the artwork in a different context.”
So, as the weather heats up and the Ironman and Ironwoman competitions get into full swing on our beaches, consider Clague hard at work in the studio creating her own works of steel.