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Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

Born and raised in Bucks County, PA. I had a short two-year life as a city mouse in Chicago during my graduate days at SAIC, but I’m a country mouse through and through. Currently, I’m living in an area considered one of the last dark skies of Bucks County.

What is your background as an artist? 

Some of my fondest childhood memories are when I was making art. I come from a long line of painters, potters, fiber artists and musicians. Memories of spending time in their studios as a child have driven me to become the artist I am today. Without any doubt in my mind, I always knew getting a degree in Fine Arts was my purpose. I earned a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, studied abroad at Glasgow School of Art in Scotland and earned my MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, both with a focus in Fiber Arts.

Tell us a bit about this series.

My system of living becomes the foundation for the work. My observations fuel the need to clean and organize in order to gain control over my environment. In the “Keepings” series, I consider myself, the Collector, Protector and Keeper of numerous family heirlooms. Using miniature furniture as representation for the objects in my home, I carve into industrial felt, placing the object into its designated space and then obsessively cocoon them in thread in order to contain and preserve. Nearly, suffocating them in the process.

Family Room

Where does the miniature furniture come from?

Most of my miniatures are purchased. Some are altered or made from scratch. Since the miniatures are representations, it can be difficult to find ones with the same visual aesthetics needed to properly represent. It’s the thrill of the find that makes it fun.

Family Room (detail)

Your work revolves around family and home-life. What is it about this subject that you want to explore? 

When I began my first body of work in college, family was the inspiration. I created work about my Grandmother who was living with Alzheimer’s disease. The work was my interpretation of what my Grandmother was experiencing. A professor once said to me, “How does the disease affect YOU?” From that point, the focus of my work has been on my need to clean, organize and protect in order to gain control over my life and environment. For a long time since that million-dollar question, my art focused on cleanliness. Currently, my work is moving in the direction of protecting and preserving my possessions. Living among the heirlooms of my ancestors, they provide me with a link to the past. Essentially, the objects are the DNA of my family.

Tell us about your own home.

Our home/studios are my largest creation to date. For ten years my husband and I saved for our dream to own a church or schoolhouse. After a long search, we switched gears and decided to buy acreage. We designed our home after three historic Bucks County churches and found a contractor that understood our vision. Within 9 months of breaking ground, The Timber Chouse (church + house) was born. The Chouse was designed with similar aesthetics of the historic white box churches: simplistic, open space. There are no rooms for special occasions, the house was designed to live in every space, every day. My Grandmother always said, “Why use your good china and silver for only special events, use everything every day or its not useful.” That’s our house story in a nutshell. The next step, to fulfill our dream of having The Timber Chouse featured in a Home Magazine/Blog.

Do you have any new work or exciting projects you'd like to tell us about?

I’m continuing to explore the stitched pieces on both felt and paper. Working on a series of tiny 3” x 3” felt stitched “Specks” and larger Victorian Hair Wreath inspired felt stitched pieces titled, “Family Preservation”. Aside from completing the “stitched” body of work, I have a few other ideas brewing in my sketchbook using molds, resin and boats. Excited about what’s to come!

Family Preservation

 

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Rebecca's website.