If you love flowery graphics and layered textures, moody neutrals with poppy brights, sophisticated contrast and perfectly placed whimsy, you’re a Rachel Castle fan, whether you know it yet or not. This is the third exhibition of Rachel’s we’ve hosted her in the gallery and we reckon this group of paintings is the most successful yet! The show sold out within the first hour so we’re sure we’re not the only one that thinks so. We chatted to the darling Rachel about her collection to get the full story.
Koskela: The exhibition is titled ‘Garden’. What are the inspirations for these works – is it your own backyard/ the local park/ the Australian landscape ?
Rachel Castle: Simply a love for flora of all kinds, some of the most beautiful shapes are created naturally, in flowers and leaves and petals and it bamboozles me how a tiny stalk can sustain a huge flower head, really very beautiful and a feat of true engineering.
K: How does your workflow incorporate both screenprinting and painting? What are your favourite aspects of combining these art two mediums?
RC: I like the variation and depth that the two give to a painting. It creates a really good depth of field and just mixes up the creative process. I love screen printing onto linen, you never know what you’re going to get, depending on the paint and what the screen overlays so I love this element of surprise.
K: What is your idea of the perfect garden?
RC: One that is maintained by a gardener and not my husband! I love TONS of green, little flowers here and there. I also love the Australian native gardens, ideally it would be a mix of everything i love but this garden would die because there are so many elements to consider, soil, weather, what plant sits next to what. We can just about maintain a grassy lawn and a couple of succulents. Its the next thing on my TO DO LIST.
K: Can you tell us a little about the process you go through to make work for an exhibition? Where do you draw your inspiration from; how do you test ideas; what environment do you like to make work in?
RC: I fill the walls with paper and just doodle. Inevitably something, a brushstroke, a pattern, will take traction, I know by now that if I just keep going like the Nemo fish I will get somewhere in the end!
K: We imagine your studio is lively and full of colour and movement! Can you describe it for us?
RC: Its a pigsty. Leni cleans it every 2 days, she is amazing, how she can create desk space amongst the paint pots and screens and bits of stuff that I collect I have no idea. I am a bower bird who likes to have everything ‘out’ so its pretty hectic in here. The only order we maintain is created by Leni. What would I do without her?????
K: What’s next for your homewares/paintings? Are you looking forward to anything in 2015?
RC: New velvets in 2015 and some new bedlinen. We don’t do collections seasonally, just when we think of something nice and new to make, so its random and ad hoc, but I think this definitely works for us. Theres never a creation of something for the sake of it, the process is very organic.
K: What brings you joy?
RC: So many things. My favourite ever forever time is at home on the sofa with my family. I cook dinner every weeknight and whether we’re laughing or fighting the dinner table is the foundation of all that happens in our family. New clothes and shoes, and seeing Leni happy and seeing Syd do a wee where she is supposed to all bring me joy.