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Rachel Wittels


17"x 18"



Embroidered Recipe: Apple Sauce Cake

  • Fiber art is a tradition of storytelling within its threads. My textiles center narratives from within my own communities of humans, habits, and relationships to inform design. Expanding upon the practice of visualizing history within my field, my textiles archive moments of my sociality-physical, tactile contributions that I offer back into the communities which they serve.

    I examine specific qualitative content surrounding a person or community to which I have a strong bond. My source material comes from anecdotal and daily places, including for instance, text threads, conversation archives, family recipes, and personal habits. After looking closely to find the cadences and emotional energies that construct the identities expressed in my source material, I ask my textiles to preserve these narratives in the systems and patterns of their fiber structure. The collections of information directly builds the foundation for the design and function of each textile. For example: double cloth weave structure bonds two friends; color coded yarns link personalities or categories; the feeling and symbolism of formal elements of shape, line, and texture; or handwriting as portraiture. The visual and tactile outcome of the work is always dictated by the characteristics of content and connections I am exploring.

    The final stage of my process circulates my works, through acts of gifting, back to the people whose lives have informed each the making of each textile. The service of gifting within my studio practice can look like delivering the physical artwork to the individual represented in that textile, archiving information considered precious within that community, and via display within the intended audience's community spaces. The work, by design, becomes a tangible circulation of the stories and relationships it holds.

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