Soft Quiet Vessels
A while ago Rachel stopped drawing small straight marks with pen and ink and began to stitch her drawings. She still makes small straight marks but now they are stitched, with a needle and thread and this lends them a delicate 3D quality.
Taking this a step further, Rachel has made a wonderful installation for the windows of One Paved Court using stitched soft sculpture vessels inspired by the work of the Japanese artist Rieko Koga. The ‘vessels’ – bowls, cups, bottles, a jug and a teapot (spouts are very tricky) are made from felted wool blankets covered with vintage linen and damask or muslin inside and out; the fabrics are cut and pleated and patched and tucked to follow the woollen shape. Finally Rachel often covers them with a simple running stitch- like the kantha textiles from Bangladesh and India, to fuse the layers of blanket, linen and damask together giving added rigidity and decoration, shading and dimpling – and so returns to the small straight marks of her pen and ink and stitched drawings.
All the fabrics Rachel uses are recycled; old linen and flax become wonderfully soft and shiny after years of washing and she says she has a ‘very soft spot for sheep and fleece and wool’.
“China and pottery break, they are brittle and hard and noisy. My vessels won’t break, they are soft and silent, quiet and gentle. they can be crushed and stroked. “
Rachel Pearcey has an MA Drawing as Process, Kingston University, London, a BA Fine Art, University of Plymouth and City & Guilds Cabinet Making, Bristol. She lives and works in Kingston Upon Thames; in 2013 was awarded the Benton Purchase Prize, ING Discerning Eye.