Kindred Tales | Rachel and Bella | Rachel Rousham Embroidery
Rachel Rousham is an artist crossing the boundaries between art and design. Rachel has been working in the luxury fashion, TV & film and interiors industries since graduating in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2012. Her fine art background, combined with industry experience, gives her a unique and unparalleled creative originality that channels into her designs and exquisite execution.
Rachel works from her London studio designing hand-drawn, original artworks and producing hand-guided free-motion machine embroidery on vintage Irish Singer embroidery machines. Bella accompanies Rachel as her studio assistant who has helped to add structure to her working day and is always on hand to offer cuddle breaks when needed
Tell us about your embroidery work?
My fine art background led to a creative practice in the medium of embroidery. Since graduating I established a studio producing embroidery for luxury fashion, TV & film costume, interiors, bridal and bespoke commissions. I specialise in designing hand-drawn artworks which are then brought to life with hand operated vintage Irish Singer embroidery machines. It’s an artform I feel privileged to keep alive, especially in the digital age.
What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by decorative and fine arts in all forms from ceramics, sculpture and paintings to embellished clothing and wall hangings. My style is hugely influenced by traditional Indian and Chinese textiles, as I love their balanced depiction of florals, foliage and animals from the natural world captured in thread. As well as techniques and details from historical embroidery, I try to draw and paint still lives, landscapes and the human form to keep my eyes in tune with the world around me.
What’s your earliest memory of dogs being in your life?
Every summer growing up we’d stay on a farm in Devon for our family holiday. I remember spending all day everyday hanging out with the farmer’s dogs. I fell in love with a Border Collie called ‘Speck’ and a Jack Russel named Lucy. I’d ask the farmer what jobs I could do to help, like feeding the pigs and chickens, just to be among the animals with Speck and Lucy by my side. I remember begging my parents for a dog after every holiday but to no avail, so as soon as we left I’d start the countdown again until the following summer when I’d get to see them again
Tell us about Bella and how they came into your life?
One day I realised I’m an adult who didn’t have to ask my parent’s permission for a dog anymore… After the success story of a friend rescuing a dog from Cyprus I decided to follow suit. I obsessively trawled the charity’s Facebook page (D.O.G Rescue Cyprus) for new arrivals and as soon as I saw Bella’s picture (SO cute and looks just like a Border Collie puppy even at full grown) I knew she was the one for me. I bombarded the charity with messages incessantly until I finally managed to adopt her.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
Every morning we have a walk around and play in Haggerston park to then continue en-route to my Dalston studio. Integrating Bella’s needs for exercise structures my working day and forces me to allow more time to get places, instead of rushing around like a cycling courier as I used to do before owning a dog. Bella accompanies me as my studio assistant and is always on hand to offer cuddle breaks.
What's you favourite all time place to go for a long walk?
I’m originally from Sussex, so when I get the opportunity to go back home I love nothing more than a sunset walk over the rolling South Downs with beautiful woodlands and views of the sea. It’s a very special place for me and it’s great to see Bella running free.
If you could be a dog for the day which breed would you be and why?
I’d definitely be a Kokoni (Bella’s breed, originally from Greece) as they are so easy going; happy to chill and be cuddled all day but always keen to accompany you on an outdoors adventure.