2011 Rachel Betts Wilmott

2011 ATA International Student Award Winner

The American Tapestry Alliance is pleased to announce that Rachel Betts-Wilmott of Alberta, Canada, is the 2011 ATA International Student Award recipient. She had been a fan of tapestries well before she transferred to the Alberta College of Art + Design and took an introductory tapestry course with Jane Kidd. Since that time, she writes, “I have spent hundreds of hours at a loom, and countless more away from it working at integrating the several media in which I’m interested in to a cohesive practice. Still dedicated to making beautiful things through process based media, I am more interested in how an object evokes, and sometimes demands, an emotional response from the viewer. Combining printmaking, ceramics, fibre work and experiential installations has become the focus of my final year at ACAD, and will continue to be a large part of my practice as I develop my practice away from post secondary institutions.”

From Rachel’s artist statement: “Throughout my work in tapestry, as well as through print media, ceramics and through mixed media installations, I am interested in the role of the viewer. Interested in creating work that gradually makes the viewer more aware of viewing.

“Using the internet as a constant source of inspiration and source imagery, my work plays with what is cute, instant and ephemeral, and how it can unfold in to a deeper, layered piece, while maintaining the subconscious recognition of that original nugget of humour.

“In my tapestry work, I’ve started with a humorous idea – bears dancing, for instance, or a series of animals with long necks – and using the delicate but strong detail that tapestry allows, have developed pieces that engage the viewer through the minutiae, but then challenge them with the gaze of the subject. Through the act of looking, the viewer is redefining their own role within the piece.”

The American Tapestry Alliance annually gives this award to a student enrolled in a recognized university or art school. The award consists of $250 and recognition in the ATA quarterly newsletter, Tapestry Topics.