I am passionate about textiles to create texture and surprise through form, stitch and colour. My creative practice focuses on the ideas of thriftiness, using materials and techniques to create something beautiful, but with domestic supplies and using up what you already have.
I work with a range of textile processes including stitch, embellishment and fabric manipulation. Currently my artwork often uses clusters as the form to provide a showcase for the stitch or technique. On a form, the stitch can be seen in all its glory and I use these traditional stitches in an experimental and often humorous way.
I often reference traditional and historical techniques from the domestic setting; preferring the techniques that arose in the home to those that were practised in high society or courts.
This cluster explores the idea of thriftiness. It is made from a piece of thermal underwear stuffed with recycled upholstery stuffing. All materials used were stash scraps and threads and donations from friends.
Techniques used: random weave; random weave with paper yarn; smocking; darning; drizzle stitch; and the gingham embellishment uses a stitch known as “Chicken Scratch”, a hand stitch made popular in the Great Depression – a simple and inexpensive, yet effective, way to decorate gingham.
Sampler on ticking, 2020
I am influenced by the UK’s rich history of samplers, in particular those from the 19th century. A sampler is a practical way of practising stitch but with research, I discovered that samplers portrayed two different worlds: depending on your class, a sampler was a way to pass the time in a genteel manner and to demonstrate your technical prowess; or for others to demonstrate a skill to gain employment in domestic service. For both classes, a sampler was a tangible record of the techniques they had learned and could be referred to for future use.
Embroidery, silk and cotton threads on mattress ticking
Flour bag, 2020
In the Great Depression women repurposed flour bags to make clothing or household items. This cluster is made from an old flour bag that had already been repurposed to clothing. I referenced an original 1930s embroidery transfer and applied traditional floral decoration to the cluster.
Embroidery, silk and cotton threads on cotton flour bag. (Origin of flour bag – Grenada)
Rachel is a member of the Society for Embroidered Work and is keen to promote the message that Stitched Art is Art.