Artists have unlimited creativity. When they dedicate their careers to exploring one medium, they can unlock a material’s extraordinary potential. That’s precisely what Rachel Fitzpatrick is doing. For the last ten years, she’s been creating light sculptures using VELCRO® Brand fasteners.
Who is Rachel Fitzpatrick?
At the intersection of art and design, you‘ll find Northern Ireland native Rachel Fitzpatrick. Her whimsical and ornate sculpture lighting fixtures are made from VELCRO® Brand fasteners.
Rachel is a textile artist by practice – she studied Fine and Applied Art, specializing in textiles at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She also studied Business & Economics at Cornell College in Iowa, USA.
Her accolades range from clients like Bergdorf Goodman and Peugeot to press mentions in Marie Claire Maison and the Wall Street Journal.
Traveling around the world has brought her to places like Paris, France, and New York City, New York, exhibiting at some of the top architectural and interior design showcases.
Rachel’s Light Sculptures and Her Passion for VELCRO® Brand Fasteners
Rachel began to use VELCRO® Brand fasteners in college. Inspired by the edge of materials, she began to experiment with different textiles. Originally, she started with cotton and Irish linen but found these materials didn‘t hold much of a shape.
Once discovering hook and loop, Rachel was thrilled: “I loved the nostalgic notions associated with the fastener, its memories of playing with its sound.” The closures were pliable enough to shape yet rigid enough for her sculpture art to stay firmly in place. She even liked how well our VELCRO® Brand fasteners took to pigmentation. The variety of colors and shapes gave way to endless possibilities.
Transforming Hook & Loop into Sculptural Light Fixtures: The Process
It all starts with inspiration – Northern Ireland is filled with natural textures and shapes, which can be found in Rachel’s unconventional art. In the early stages of her sculpting, Rachel will collect images and materials in a sketchbook.
“My process is subconscious while also continuous. As an artist, I am continually inspired by the natural environment around me, textures of the landscape, the growth of a plant, or the movement of the sea. I’m inquisitive, always taking photos and re-examining these to sketch or paint gestures of what my piece might look like.”
From Paper to Fiber Art: Incorporating Hook & Loop into the Process
VELCRO® Brand hook and loop tape allows me to realize my sketches and paintings into a 3D form. I love how the material is so durable yet lightweight. This allows great freedom in designing and developing pieces – and of course, helps with the shipping and installation too!
When first creating these sculptural light fixtures, Rachel considers the type of fastener, its color, finishes, and lengths.
To sculpt her pieces, Rachels uses a variety of VELCRO® Brand fasteners to give her art a specific look and feel. For softer finishes, she’ll begin by using the VELCRO® Brand TEXACRO® tape, a closure available in the UK. This material allows Rachel the flexibility to hand-sculpt her pieces without it looking too rigid.
If Rachel wants to create a more contemporary art sculpture with lots of colors, she’ll use white VELCRO® Brand Sew On fasteners and then go through the process of dying them. This creates a vibrant range of colors, and she’s able to match them to Pantone shades.
When adding a more luxurious feel, Rachel will choose VELCRO® Brand fasteners with adhesives, to enable her to create metallic finishes in golds, coppers, and gunmetals.
The Sculpting Process
Finally comes the sculpting process. Once the right hook and loop is chosen for the project, Rachel will begin to form one continuous strand, which can be very long – some of her light art sculptures are around 4 miles! It’s here where her love of edges comes into play. She hand sculpts the hook and loop to create curves and movement in the fixtures. It’s this white space and the shapes of the fasteners that merge to form a thoughtful piece of art, elevating the space.
Finally, when the modern art sculpture is fully installed, it’s nothing less than beautiful. “For me seeing the piece positioned in its forever home is a magical moment. It is such a privilege to know I’ve created something for someone’s home (or business). It’s an amazing feeling to think my piece has become a talking point for family or guests.”
Rachel’s most recent collection is inspired by linen and “the connection that that material has to the Northern Irish textile industry.” One of her pieces, Linen Loop, will be on exhibition during London Craft Week 2020.
When you look at Rachel Fitzpatrick’s light sculptures, you can see the playful yet luxurious style she incorporates into work. Every piece elevates her client’s interiors, capturing ingenious innovation and creativity.
Stay on the blog to discover even more VELCRO® Brand artists: