July 5, 2010

Blog Interview with Bead&Button BeadDreams winner Rachel Reilly

This is the first in a 3-part series. You'll get to read about each winner in a separate post over the coming weeks.

BeadDreams is a contest sponsored by Bead&Button Magazine and showcased every year at the Bead&Button Show in June. This year a new category was added to the competition, WIREWORK!

Since this technique is very near and dear to the hearts of all of here at Beaducation, we were thrilled to be the prize sponsor for this part of the competition.

Bead&Button receives many entries from top craftspeople in a variety of media. As you can imagine, the competition is pretty stiff! All submissions are subject to a jury panel, and only a limited number of entries are accepted.

During the show, I got to see the exhibit in its full glory and let me tell you, the work was amazing! I thought you all might like to meet the illustrious wireworkers that won in our sponsored catagory.

(Let me mention a big THANK YOU to Bead&Button for letting us be a sponsor. We love the Bead&Button Show and  congratulate them on 10 wonderful years of putting on such a great bead show. We look forward to coming to Milwaukee every year!!) 
Now, without further delay...meet the first prize winner for her piece entitled Flight of Fancy, Rachel Reilly of Facets of Avalon.

(Note: First two photos by William Zuback. Courtesy of Bead&Button magazine. All other photos courtesy of the artist.)

 Flight of Fancy
Click on the image to see the full effect! 
The clickthrough image is HUGE, so you can enlarge it for super-detailed viewing.

Beaducation: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions.  I took a look at your website “Facets of Avalon” and the work on there is amazing. You have incorporated a variety of textile techniques that you have translated to wire. Can you tell me a bit about your background? Your inspiration?
Rachel: I graduated with a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing from Sir John Cass College. London, in 1992. Since then I have been a self employed designer as well as a wife and mother of two. My mother, a textile artist and I, established our gallery Facets of Avalon to showcase our work in 1999. It is based in Glastonbury, South West England, a very spiritual and mystical place with many myths and Arthurian legends. This undoubtedly has influenced my work.
Beaducation: How did you discover wire?

 Rachel: I first discovered the wire when I took apart a broken television. The lovely jewels of miniature reels were just begging to be played with. That was half way through my degree. The tutors thought I was a bit mad. 

 Beaducation: You have a great eye for color. Do you color the wire that you use in your designs?

Rachel: The wire comes pre coloured / enameled on the reel. I’m knitting three or four ply, so the colour blending is endless and as a result can be extremely subtle. I love colour!

 Flint Necklace
Click it, and then imagine yourself wearing it!!! Good times.

Beaducation: What is your favorite type and gauge of wire to work with?

 Rachel: 0.2mm (32-gauge) is my favourite. Copper is such a wonderful metal to use, it’s soft and pliable and work hardens to become self supporting. Ideal for jewellery.

Beaducation: You have such an impressive website, and I see that “Facets of Avalon” is a gallery based in Glastonbury UK that is run by you and your mother, Jan. Are your artistic endeavors your full time job? 

 Rachel: It’s not just a job it’s my life! I’m blessed to be making a living doing what I feel compelled to do. I’ve always been a fiddler, beading was an obsession as a child.

Beaducation: I have also noticed your collaboration pieces listed in your gallery section on your website. It looks like those are pieces that you and you mother created together. Can you describe your collaboration process and how that might affect your art, the outcome and your feeling about the finished piece?

 Rachel: The collaborative pieces have just come in the last year. They usually start with draping the silk mum has painted, around a mannequin and that always inspires me to knit something as a compliment to the garment. It’s so exciting to play around with the texture contrast between the silk and the wire. Also the 2-D and 3-D aspect is a thrill.

 A dress fit for the Fae.

As I’ve said, the wire can be self supporting and so can stand proud of the body, creating a really strong form. My mother and I share the same colour palate so working together is very harmonious. Invariably a design she has silk painted will flow into the knitted sections I add. 

Sometimes the making process takes over to such an extent that when finished, I’ll stand back and be in wonder of what has been created almost without me knowing!
Beaducation: What prompted you to enter the BeadDreams contest?

 Rachel: Jan, my mum as ever, my mentor and business partner suggested I entered. She’s so prolific and is always looking for the next thing to do.
Beaducation: What advice can you give to beginning designers? Seasoned designers? What are your words of wisdom to share?

 Rachel:  Don’t ever listen to criticism unless it’s constructive. If I had, I wouldn’t be working today. Listen to your inner voice and act. I’m a do-er, never really much of a talker about the work, certainly not until it’s finished anyway. Give it a go and see if it works, if it doesn’t, there will have been some interesting and vital mistakes made along the way.

Thanks so much Rachel for sharing your art with us and congratulations!

To see more of Rachel's work, visit her website.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Wow,what Amazing beautiful work! I'm in awe.I posted a link to this over at my blog