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Introducing Rachael singleton

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to make things. My whole family made things - we sewed, painted, crafted, played music etc but none of us found our real strengths until we were older. I never did art at school and until now, haven’t taken any formal textile qualifications but I think it has allowed me to play in a way which has helped. I would describe myself as a ‘possibility thinker’ and chasing daft ideas and experimenting with paint and glue up to my eye balls may not have been quite the thing at school! Who knows?

It slightly tickles me that many textile artists have moved into mixed media journaling because having previously painted, thrown clay around and made a few epic salt dough creations in my time, I did journaling for quite a few years. Through this, I started to bring back fabric into what I made, and this was the beginning of exploring textiles for me. Although to this day, I still like to combine fabric and paper.

I started to play around with layers of paper and fabric, and still love layering things up and blending colours etc.

Illumine
Rust-ling

In 2014, I enrolled on Kim Thittichai’s Experimental Textiles course and had an absolute ball! I loved every minute and sucked up as much learning as possible. I managed to start a workbook where I didn’t rip out most pages and started to think about what I really liked, and didn’t. By the end I knew I liked printing more that I thought, detested weaving, loved the chat about work, swooned around sludgy tones of colour and realised how awesome turquoise and rusty orange are together.

One exercise taught me a lot. The piece of work became affectionately known as ‘The Thing’. As I worked into it, and stitched more and more, it changed. I was risking a lot of time and work as I continued but it was worth it in the end, and Jean Draper in her book ‘Stitch and Structure’ makes the point about needing to take a risk sometimes and not to play safe. Working with the process of a thing has produced some good stuff as well as some slimy disasters involving CMC paste and knobbly bits of silk fibres, but that’s another story.

The Thing
Thing’s texture

I have engaged in a few themes with a couple of groups and I really enjoy the challenge of thinking of ideas and making pieces for a project. I have a few pieces which started life in a tiny sketchbook on holiday, looking at rock and pebbles. The theme was ‘line’ and I’m rather helpless against linear elements. I really like verticals for some reason and often tend to work with long formats.

Working with lines of pebbles, layers of printed fabric using handmade print blocks
Rock, paper, scissors sketchbook. Tea and rust dye.
Bit of stuff and nonsense...

I love what other artists make with natural materials such as twigs and wax and linen etc. and trees continue to inspire me. Probably because they are pretty vertical!

Spring bower house. Bluebells under the trees
Fabric and paper collage, encaustic medium.
Pod, made for ‘Noticeable Edges’ theme.

I am part both the Halifax Embroiderers Guild and Hillstone Fibre Arts and love meeting with others and seeing their work. Our guild is very good fun! I am currently involved in a piece of research about the demise of creative skills teaching with Bolton University and am working in collaboration with an artist in Ireland which is exciting. I have kept a blog for a few years now and you can find me using the button below. Beware, it does contain moments of madness! Thank you, Rachael

Beach hut. A Guild challenge

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