Storytelling connects us to one another and helps explain who we are. When we are displaced, we carry our traditions, memories and history with us and try to recreate what has been left behind to define a new sense of belonging. Physical and emotional displacement can compose the essential elements of human existence. Events such as birth, growth, emotion, aspiration, conflict, and mortality, are part of who we are and can help tell our story. Rachelle’s work draws on this storytelling narrative, where the tension between the memories and the imagined is played out.
Rachelle LeBlanc is a Canadian Textile Artist whose work explores the sifting paradigms of people and place through narrative figures, landscapes and sculpture. Influenced by the radical reshaping of the rural landscape she grew up in, she investigates how individual lives are affected by their experiences, surroundings and the connections we form with other people, friends and family.
Her work has been exhibited internationally in numerous group and solo shows.
Rachelle received a degree in Fashion Technique and Design from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario and worked as a sportswear designer in Montreal for twenty years, until moving to Alberta in 2008 with her husband and two daughters.
My transition to sculpture is also driven by my strong curiosity to explore how thought, imagination, and emotions are manifested externally on the figurative form. This body of work will use what I have learned through study and material experimentation, combining other mediums such as clay and embroidery to tell a story. The mixed media not only creates an intriguing dialogue of materials, but also informs the viewer by providing them with greater contrasts and a deeper tactile visual experience.
All figures are made by hand with hand-dyed linen and woollen fabrics. There is an enormous amount of creative labor expended to create these works. The process begins with a number of sketches of the sculptures from various angles. Once the concepts have been refined, patterns are drawn, tested and then transferred onto linen which becomes sewn into a bare linen sculptural figure. Hand-dyed wool is then cut into thin strips of varying widths, to finally be hand-hooked onto the closed, 3D linen form. All other elements are also created by hand including the embroidered pieces which are made with the help of digitally printed images on silk and silk threads. All the stands will be hand-built in red-earthenware clay and finished using a multiple layers of underglazes, stains, and slips, as well as mark making to achieve depth of color.