Rachael’s art practice focuses on eating; using cutlery and tableware as tools to explore the ways in which we consume food through dining events, installations and visual art projects.
Rachael has ASD and Systemic Sclerosis, a degenerative autoimmune condition, both of which have contributed to forming her issues around food. She aims to communicate aspects of these challenges through material experimentation and the creation of ambiguous artefact assemblages. Her developing body of work is underpinned by the exploration of Sheffield’s metalworking heritage and the traditional making processes and techniques associated with the cutlery industry. She places particular focus on the roles of women, such as buffing (polishing), file cutting, knife handle application, quality control and packing.
Rachael has been awarded a Goldsmiths’ Centre Career Catalyst grant and a 2021 QEST Howdens Scholarship in Silversmithing & Jewellery (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) to establish and further her traditional metalworking skills through training, delivered by a range of specialist craftspeople in Sheffield. Through Freelands Foundation and Site Gallery she has gained support from Sheffield Museums Curator of Industry and Metalwork Emma Paragreen and Curator Dr Joan Unwin at Cutlers Company of Hallamshire to explore Sheffield’s metalwork archives and collections, supporting the further development of her research.