Before any leather is considered good enough for use in a Lexus, it is burned, ripped, scuffed and scored in a battery of gruelling tests to find just how well it will maintain its quality through years of wear and tear. British artist Claire Lawrence, who is registered as blind, has captured the spirit of these tests in her creation of a series of artworks, using the same Lexus leather as her canvas.
In a further interpretation of Lexus’ principles of ‘creating amazing’, she has been inspired by the multi-sensory qualities of the leather used in cars. Her creative process involves burning holes in the leather, which are then laced with stitching before being coated with a clear varnish, adding extra dimensions of visual interest and tactility. The result is work of a very special nature, and adds an intriguing new dimension to Lexus’ concept of quality and craftsmanship.
Her works were on display at the Lexus Leicester showroom in Britain.
Says Lawrence, “I usually work with canvas. At first I found the leather much harder to stitch and burn, and the burning was also more controlled. I was hesitant about varnishing the leather, as it was so beautiful, but I was encouraged by Lexus to do whatever I usually would to create my artworks. “I am so glad I did, as the varnish on the leather is so crisp and enhances the burn and the colour of the material. They look far more organic, with the leather appearing to gain a flesh-like quality.”
Lawrence was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition when aged eight. She went on to complete an art degree, but a subsequent sharp decline in her vision curtailed her artistic ambitions. It was the chance gift of a blowtorch in 2013 that proved the inspiration for a new creative approach that has produced new work and the Lexus commission.
“As I have tunnel vision, I can never see the piece as a whole, only sections of it, so in a sense, my art is a representation of my eyesight,” she said.