Rachel Fitzpatrick


(Forbidden) Embrace explores Rachel Fitzpatrick’s ongoing engagement with the material world. Lockdown had many negative impacts and constraints on our lives while we cocooned ourselves. However, it also gave us time to reflect on the many things we do not discern or appraise.

Rachel works with her hands, in keeping with the deep-rooted crafts heritage of a rural society in which she lives. She transforms materials using slow skills and processes such as hand dying and sculpting, drawing inspiration from the magnificent sea and landscapes of her native Ireland, together with her love of rhythm and music. She challenges innovation in the way in which we look at the world, through everyday materials, predominantly working with the polyester material, Velcro. There is a sense of connection to these hook and loop ribbons through her childhood memories.

Rachel strives to push the boundaries of her practice through scale and colour, creating a highly sensory environment where both luminosity and acoustics alter as viewers explore the piece. There is a forbidden tactility to her work — the innate desire to touch this familiar material (Velcro) is constrained and playfully cocooned as a piece of art in a formal setting.