For this Brisbane designer, stylist, artist and author, all that glitters is… tinsel!
Forget Hollywood – creative powerhouse Rachel Burke produces her own tinseltown from her studio in Brisbane
Can you tell us about yourself? I’m a designer and multidisciplinary artist. I live in Brisbane with my husband Thomas and two sausage dogs, Daphne and Daisy. I love making things and keeping busy!
What inspired you to start working with tinsel? I used to make costumes for my friend, Patience Hodgson of Brisbane band The Grates. I would try to make tactile, crazy costumes. A few years ago, she asked me to make something for her performance at Splendour In The Grass (the annual music and arts fesitval in Byron Bay) and I knew it had to be spectacular! I started searching for fun textures or materials, stumbled upon some tinsel I had lying around and thought, “this is it!” I made her my irst tinsel jacket – and watching her perform on stage in it was out of this world. US singer Kesha and many other celebrities are aboard your tinsel train. What’s it like seeing major stars in your creations? Surreal! I don’t think it will ever get old or boring to see celebrities wear my pieces. I also get a kick out of seeing one of my pieces out in the wild. I spotted someone wearing one at the Solange concert recently and it made my night! What do you love most about your work? I love how free and unconstrained it is. It’s not trying to be commercial or trendy. It is just a pure expression of what I like and what’s happening in my mind. Is your home as colourful as your art? Yes, it is very colourful! It’s a crazy mix of vintage inds, artworks and, of course, tinsel. How did your beautiful installation with West Elm earlier this year for Sydney’s Mardi Gras come about? West Elm got in touch to ask if I could put togther an installation to celebrate Mardi Gras. They gave me real creative freedom to develop and create my ‘Love Is Love’ display. I spent a number of weeks leading up to the install weaving the hangings with tinsel, and I lew to the Sydney store to hang it from their ceilings. It was a dream come true to be able to create something to celebrate Mardi Gras and also to work with West Elm.
What do you have coming up? My second book, Be Dazzling, is out very soon and I’m working towards a large-scale pompom installation with a new gallery launching in 2019. Be Dazzling: Simple Projects To Make Your Wardrobe Sparkle ($19.99, Hardie Grant Books) is released on September 1.
Brisbane creative Rachel Burke (inset) is soon to release her second book, Be Dazzling (left). Her work has featured at West Elm (above) in Sydney’s Bondi Junction, and her table display(opposite, top left) was for a West Elm party. Her creations include (opposite, clockwisefrom far left) ‘Rainbow’ jacket, ‘Strawberry Fields’ dress and ‘Shoe-nicorn’ shoes. Rachel’s pompom designs (left & opposite, bottom left) are also popular. Like everything else she creates, they get their start in her Brisbane studio (below).