Graduate Alumni > Rachel Hefferan (MFA 2020)

Working with living organisms as a source of visual inspiration is for me an act of humbling awe. I don’t think I will ever tire of the discovery possible in the microscopic. My mediation through weaving creates a new frame of reference, transforming the microscopic into the macroscopic. These abstractions exist in a liminal space without scale, both micro and macro.

These material explorations are responses to structure, life cycles, and systems observed and interacted with on a daily basis. Molds, mosses, lichens, and fungi deconstruct physicality of other objects through the microbial processes of metabolism and fermentation. We can use metabolic processes to change things intentionally, as commonplace as changing physical form and flavor of food and drink. Inspiration for my woven abstractions comes from a mixture of image collections of natural microbiota in my home and intentionally cultured samples from objects and beings I cohabitate with. Energy is exchanged during metabolic processes, complex structures are broken down into simple building blocks that allow for new structures to arise. Each piece is a representation of the breakdown and renewal of matter through the use of line. A meeting of opposing structures and experimentation in destabilization of cloth.

I believe that weaving is more akin to scientific process than any other media, a tool that can yield controlled results with exactitude and yet also fosters discovery and understanding. Using a thread that travels across a straight line, in aggregate creates a grid - a colony. That same line travels through state changes (organizational methods, patterns) making up an image, a drawing reflective of microbial process.