Born in Amarillo, Texas, Claire Watson earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Texas in Austin, and an MFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art in Rome and Philadelphia. She moved to New York in 1984, supporting her studio practice as a teacher, scenic and decorative painter, and model-maker for a props studio. She's currently based in New York City and eastern Long Island, where she raised two sons with her husband, artist Stephen Laub.

Watson's work spans nearly five decades and encompasses drawing, sculpture, and mixed media constructions from found materials. Her recent work is based on shapes found in salvaged, disassembled leather clothing, as an exploration of the material and poetic properties of the leather itself. Made with traditional sewing and self-taught tailoring techniques, the works are abstract reflections of the human form, embedded with memories of human and animal life.

Awards and honors include an Artist Residency at The Watermill Center in 2020; a Residency Fellowship at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in 2019; a Fellowship in Sculpture from New York Foundation for the Arts in 2007, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1990. Her works are in numerous private and permanent collections, including  The Heckscher Museum of Art, The Watermill Center, and Onna House.