rachel carter

Vintage Kimono Collage

The Loft Workspace

About Me

Since I was a small child I have loved all aspects of art, but I was particularly passionate about fabric and sewing. My mother trained as a dress designer so our house was full of bits of fabric that I was always chopping up to make into dolls clothes or dressing up outfits for myself. My mother took me to art galleries regularly from when I was very young so I was soaking up the images of western art without knowing it. I went on to study art at Dartington all the while collecting and cutting up bits of fabric making all my own clothes and furnishing my home. In the 1980s I trained as an English teacher then moved to Japan, building a career marketing British design products in Tokyo. With an eye for design and love of sewing and fabrics I was thrilled to find vintage kimono remnants in Japanese markets. Over twenty years, at first living in Japan then visiting several times a year, I built a huge collection of kimono silks that I brought back to England to make into quilts, bags and clothes.

My most recent use of kimomo silks has been to make vibrant pictures on the single theme of vases of flowers. I combine images of flowers on the kimonos with abstract patterns and strong stitching to create striking, varied collages within a unifying theme. While living and working with Japan, I became fascinated with the way Japan picks up aspects of Western art and culture and makes them into something uniquely Japanese. My own approach of creating the enduring classic Western image of a still life vase of flowers using Japanese images from kimono fabric has been been a rewarding reversal of my experiences in Japan. I am using quintessentially Japanese images to create pictures in the western tradition of flower painting in unconventional media of stolen forms from vintage fabric.

I am happy to accept commissions to complement the surroundings of homes or public spaces.