Rachael Howard has been a successful practising textile artist and designer since leaving the Royal College of Art in 1992 as one of the first postgraduate students of Embroidery. Since then, she has become one of its most respected practitioners. Her graphic, lively sketches of everyday life typify her powers of observation and knack for catching the moment.
Interview by Jessica Edney.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Eclectic, offbeat, celebrating the ordinary and the everyday of human life.
Were you creative as a child?
Yes, although I believe all children are creative, I was always drawing, I would copy my favourite cartoons and draw pictures in my nursery rhyme books, I also painted murals on my bedroom walls. I loved making dolls and dolls clothing using my Mum's hand crank Singer Sewing Machine, I would dress our pet cats up in dolls clothes too! My friends and I made dens, tree houses and go carts and we would go on bike rides and get lost. I liked making sculptural mud pies in the garden, I would pretend I was on a potters wheel, in fact, I have only in recent years had the fun of throwing a pot on a kick wheel.
What is a typical day for you?
Sort domestic/family stuff first, answer emails, speak with students if it's a uni day (I'm a Senior Lecturer in Textiles at Bath Spa University) or work in my studio if not. I have to be careful to utilise time effectively and not let it get sucked away with working at a computer screen/attending meetings/doing the laundry.
What is it like being part of the 62 Group of Textile Artists?
It's good to be part of a supportive community of artists and there are good exhibition opportunities.
What will participants learn at this workshop?
Fun, fear-free drawing exercises, which will then be applied to cotton/silk fabric using different textile techniques such as carbon printing and applique. Participants will learn how to cover a button and create a set of their own unique, fantastic covered buttons.