Chances are, if you have visited our Geelong store, you have seen the AH-MAZING artwork by local artist - Rachel Hine. We're huge fans of all of Rachel's work at Frankie + if you aren't already, you will be!
As well as the paste ups of "Frankie" that adorn our shop wall, Rachel creates the most beautiful + intricately detailed tapestries, drawings + water colours.
Read all about where Rachel gets her inspiration from + how that translates into the masterpieces that she creates.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I love movies + watch a lot of Youtube, I screen grab all the time just in case an accidental composition might be perfect one day.
I'm always looking at historical tapestry weaving, + trying to figure out how the pictures are put together. Techniques and materials help start the creative process aswell.
Of course, fashion, + fabrics. I have a pretty big collection of magazines that goes back years + years. I go through them + make simple collages in sketchbooks.
I'm inspired by the way women are represented throughout history. I'm often drawn towards stories of strength + perseverance.
What's your process to create a tapestry?
Most tapestries a start out as a simple drawing. Sometimes that's enough to go on with. But, mainly I like to create an almost finished watercolour before I go to the effort to weave a tapestry.
Often I leave the painting a bit unfinished so the tapestry can be it's own thing, not a complete copy. I usually start a new series of work knowing how many pieces I'll make.
The next part of the process is gathering all the yarn that I might need. I also spin wool, which is handy because I can make as much as I need. I also dye the yarn so I can get the right colour. I like a mixture of yarns.
The next part is the weaving. I usually have a tracing of the art work behind the warp threads so I have a kind of map of where I need to change colours and make shapes with the weaving.
What made you go into tapestry?
I kind of stumbled into tapestry to be honest. I had my heart set on being a jeweller when I first left school. I applied to a major art school in Melbourne, and for the heck of it, I applied for some other general art courses as well. I was devastated when I didn't get in to the jewellery course, but was accepted at Monash for sculpture and tapestry.
I had absolutely no idea what tapestry was, and after a lot of encouragement from the head of department, decided that it would make perfect sense to learn tapestry. It probably was the best decision, I felt like I had done it before, it came to me pretty easily. I loved the colours and the yarn, and really the possibilities of scale and the impact tapestry can make to an environment. Weaving is pretty amazing really.
Did you study tapestry or are you just naturally talented?
I don't know if I'm "naturally talented", I really believe that a person can get better by practising + having great teachers.
My teacher at Uni was Kate Derum, she was an amazing artist. Then I had a position at the Australian Tapestry Workshop as a tapestry weaver + learnt so much there.
I was lucky enough to have an artistic Mum, I would watch her paint pictures all the time. My favorite thing as a kid was to see the watercolour mix together on the paper. Dad worked in the textile division of the CSIRO, so he'd bring home samples of the wool they were developing and sample books of fabric, so it kind of seems pretty logical that I'm a tapestry weaver.
I work every day, if I can. By working with creativity in a routine kind of way, I feel like I can make more work with out getting too tense about whether it works out or not.
I try not to be too critical in the studio, I sort of feel like it's up to the audience, not me, to judge my work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have had a pretty epic year so far with group exhibitions in Canberra, Sydney + Melbourne.
The group show at Boom is the last for the year, so I'm really enjoying making lots of new work on paper, and seeing what happens.
I feel like I'm taking a slightly different turn for this new work. There will still be the element of portraiture, but with more of a connection to the land.
Specifically I'm focusing on stories of the Australian bush. Fictional stories like Picnic at Hanging Rock. I'm looking forward to all those beautiful lace shirts to weave! There's a lot of true tales to be found in archives about about other events that I'm investigating too. Some mysterious, others are heartbreaking. All of them are feeling very rich to help inspire my new work.
I'll be showing this work next year a Boom Gallery.
Tell us about how you came to create "Frankie" for us?
I love street art. Making the drawings for Frankie was I like a dream come true. I feel as though the process for Frankie isn't that different than for making a tapestry. Except, I don't have to weave a tapestry, just have a lot of fun painting a really big picture!
I started with an idea of the vibe of Frankie Say Relax. Quite literally, she's a relaxed girl, who loves nice things. I wanted to work with plants + fabrics, while also incorporating a little bit of luxe, by adding a little bit of gold leaf. Up close (for the kids) there's even a little bit of glitter, because, why not, it's for fun.
Having the opportunity to create a small drawing + enlarging it to this oversized scale, and painting is something I always look forward to.
As well as "Frankie" on the wall of our Geelong store, we're lucky enough to have a couple of framed + signed water colours in store. So you can see Rachel's work up close + personal (trust us, it's seriously SPECTACULAR!!!)
Rachel is currently exhibiting at Boom Gallery until September 8th as part of Craft Cubed - The Festival of the Handmade.