Art and Tapestry, From Geelong Australia: Interview with artist Rachel Hine

I came across Rachel Hine peculiar tapestry designs in social media, and thought that her art should be seen across the world. Her art is unique, and is not only a visual language.

What did you major in? I studied Fine Art, and was lucky enough to major in tapestry weaving at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. There’s a tapestry community in Melbourne because of the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

When did you started to express yourself through art in tapestry and
creating a visual language ?
I have always been a creative person, and always thought I’d be an artist one day, so it’s hard to know exactly when it all happened. I never had a back up plan. Tapestry was a good fit for me because it allowed me to combine drawing, painting, textiles and yarn. I was in my early 20s when I discovered tapestry and weaving. I had a really great teacher who really helped me  develop a visual language. I love being influenced by other artists from history, by fashion and tapestry weaving itself.

How much work and patience does it take to weave your unique pieces? Small tapestries are really fun for me, and I can make them in a week or so. I definitely think you have to be a certain type of person to commit to weaving a big tapestry. I always feel like it’s a huge leap of faith that it’s going to work out. But, I know that if I don’t get too overwhelmed by it, it’s amazing what a person can do if you just do a little bit over time. The biggest tapestry I’ve woven was completed over the first and second wave of covid lockdowns here in Australia, so it took months and months

What kind of materials do you use? I love vintage yarns, and have found a few people on instagram who sell things like vintage hemp from France. That’s always kind of inspirational to use materials that have had previous life. I also use commercially made woollen yarns, and I spin my own wool. I love dying my own colours too.

I believe that each tapestry you make tells a story.. tell us about it. It’s true! I think because tapestry takes time.  Usually for me, the ideas behind the images have to have meaning. The bigger the tapestry the bigger the meaning. That’s not to say that the fine small tapestries aren’t meaningful, they are, just different. I have made some portraits of children that I think very carefully about, trying to capture a moment. Recently I made an exhibition of work all based around the mystery of the Australian outback. Think ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, the way colonial Australians didn’t understand the bush would often result in people getting lost.

How would you describe your creative process, and inspiration? I go to my studio most days and will work on either drawing or weaving, depending what’s going on. I have a crazy amount of boards on Pinterest where I collect pictures of the vibes I’m going for in the preliminary drawings. When I start a new body of work, I draw and paint watercolour. Sometimes things don’t work out, even with weaving. It’s good to know when to stop, and cut your loses. Because work every day, it’s easier to not take all the work so seriously, you know, because you can always comeback tomorrow. I love listening to documentaries on youtube while I weave. I like to settle in and basically lose the whole day. 

I’m inspired by so many things, I love medieval tapestries, the unicorn! Recently I can’t stop looking at Coptic weaving, there are just so many mysteries in the work, and probably a fair bit of magic. Beauty and fashion throughout history is a pretty big influence that I can’t get away from.

Where can we find your art? Boom Gallery, Geelong represents me and I exhibit there regularly. One of my tapestries was also bought by the Geelong Galleryfor their permanent collection

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