Rachel Dein, Part 1 of 3: (Mostly) Botanical Bas Reliefs
This is the first in a three part series about Rachel Dein, one of our contributing artists, who specializes in plaster and concrete botanical bas reliefs.
Dein's work is made using a direct and low-tech approach to casting: she presses objects (usually plants) into clay, removes them, and then pours plaster into the imprints left by the plants.
This is obviously an oversimplification - if it was that easy, everyone would make work this beautiful. The point is, the magic Rachel Dein creates isn't dependent on elaborate technology, crazy moldmaking, or cutting edge materials. It's her deep understanding of her materials and process, her sense of composition, and her understanding of the natural world that come together to create these enchanting panels.
On a technical front, the work is exquisite. The surface fidelity is so fine that every vein in every leaf, the texture of each stem, the delicacy of the finest tissue of poppy petals, and even the tiny hairs on fiddleheads stand out against the smooth plane of the backgrounds.
Dein's sense of composition, her sensitivity to form, and visual hierarchy all add to the work being successful from a formal perspective.
The perfect imperfection of the natural world isn't easy to mimic but Dein somehow captures the rhythms, the density, and the right combinations of plants to evoke an enchanted fairyland.
Rachel has begun working with a US based company called Area Environments that creates wall coverings based on artists' work. So far, she has four patterns available. This is so much fun - what a great new application for casting... (I want this...)
Rachel not only creates pieces of her own imagining but she works with clients as well to create custom pieces. These can range from preserving wedding flowers to family portraits and sentimental objects.
Rachel Dein also creates large scale commissions. She has been working recently with interior designers and architectural design firms and has just finished significant projects for a restaurant and a fashion atelier. The next two posts in this series will focus on these magnificent commissions, so stay tuned - the impact of Rachel's work on these spaces is incredible.