Our Second Guest Artist to be featured on the Studio site is Rachelle Gardner, a mixed media artist originally from Kansas City, Missouri, now living in Mission, Kansas, USA
Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?
Thread, of any kind, which I don’t know counts as a “fiber,” but it’s hard to make lace without it! I also keep a stash of dyed and natural Shetland wool around at all times, as I never know when I’ll need it. The third is admittedly, a toss-up between angora or silk fiber for use in detailing and accents.
Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?
My sewing machine, a new one that was partially funded by the Arts Council in my area, and water soluble stabilizer. I still feel like I’m just scratching the surface of possibilities with this material.
Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?
I am amazed at what water does to these materials. Both in wet felting and in working with the water soluble stabilizer, the utter transformation that occurs is symbolic to me. It impresses on me vital nature of water; it’s power to sustain us, it’s power to cleanse. It also reminds me of the concept that individual consciousness is like a drop of water in the ocean of universal consciousness. So, in short, I love working with water!
How did you get into fiber arts?
My path to the fibers arts was long, slow, but I think inevitable. When I was in high school, my parents adopted three Shetland sheep, which I, as a teenager, thought was most “uncool.” Eventually, I recognized my mother’s talents as she picked up every bit of the process of raising the animals, shearing, cleaning, dying, spinning, knitting, designing the patterns, over and over again, until it was finally time to say goodbye to the dear creature that provided so much over the years. And I can’t tell you how much time my father spent on fencing! So I eventually began picking up things here and there, and felting was my first interest and attempt at the fiber arts. While I consider myself a mixed media artist, I often work with felt or wool fiber in some way.
Did you study art at college?
No! My degree is in interior architecture and my first job out of college was working as an apprentice at a small mom-and-pop wood shop building and designing custom furniture. But soon enough, the call of the fine arts drew me back.
What you working on at the moment?
Right now I am preparing lace samples in preparation for studying at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. There I will learn how to cast large scale fabric sculpture. I’m interested in creating large scale lace sculpture exhibitions in art centers in my city and cities around me. This has been a project long in the making with support from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, The Arts Council of Metro Kansas City, and hopefully people who love lace as I’m in the last few days of crowd-sourcing project funds through an online fundraising platform. I’d have to say it’s the most involved project I’ve yet to embark on.
What do you like to do when you aren’t creating art?
Yoga is my other main passion and I am a certified and registered yoga teacher. Between my day job, making art, and teaching yoga, whatever time is left is spent with my boyfriend and our 14-year old rescue kitty, Ellie.
Many thanks to Rachelle for taking the time to answer our questions, and share her work and enthusiasm with us If you’d like to see more of Rachelle’s work, please visit her website www.rmgardner.com and her blog
If you’d like to find out more about Rachelle’s adventurous project turning 2-D lace work into large 3-D sculpture, visit her Aspen Project website, there’s even the opportunity for you to be involved and help with the costs of the project. Everyone who helps out receives a credit and also a reward of beautiful unique artwork, made individually for each person. But hurry, there’s less than a day left for that.