Becka Rahn

Artist Statement

Although my work is primarily created with fabric, my pieces are as much about the surface design as they are the three-dimensional shape. The story embedded in the design of the fabric informs all of the elements of the piece.

Like a painter, I start with a blank canvas. Every piece begins with creating the design for the fabric itself. I don’t buy fabric and sew clothing; I create wearable sculpture starting from blank fabric. I like to work with materials that are unexpected and at odds with the soft and feminine associations of fabric. I make designs inspired by construction equipment, pacemakers, Geissler tubes or doorknobs using materials including IRS tax forms, recycled magazines and security envelopes.

These cut paper illustrations and patterns are scanned and manipulated digitally to create designs that can be printed on to fabric, which I then use to construct wearable art pieces. To contrast this high-tech surface design technique, I choose classic, timeless silhouettes and shapes for the garments that I make, instead of more avant-garde pieces. These quintessential forms not only showcase the surface pattern, but evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, helping to create a connection with the viewer.