Rachel MacHenry received her MA from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London (University of the Arts, London). She has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and was a resident at the Craft Studios, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. As former Studio Head/Textiles at Sheridan College, Rachel continues to maintain an active role as a teacher.
Her practice and research as a textile designer and maker focuses on sustainable, innovative design for functional textiles, developed in collaboration with craft producers. Working in partnership with communities, she designs for small-scale artisanal production. She has worked extensively with community-based co-operatives in South Asia to develop textile products using local materials for overseas markets. Her eponymous knitwear and felt line is produced with craft producers in Nepal and India and is marketed in the United States, Europe and Japan. Clients have included catalogue companies such as Garnet Hill, Sundance, Company Kids, Magic Cabin and Eziba, numerous museum shops including the Art Institute of Chicago Shop, the Brooklyn Museum Shop, and the American Folk Art Museum Shop as well as prestigious retailers such as Barney’s Japan and Takashimaya.
Rachel has been involved in curating exhibitions related to textiles and design including,
“Spin Cycle; recycling and reclaiming textile traditions” and, “On Growth and Form: textiles and the engineering of nature”, both for The Textile Museum of Canada. In 2007, she assisted in the establishment of the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-operative (www.textilestudio.ca) in Toronto. This co-op provides studio space for textile artists and designers, and Rachel continues to be a contributing member.
She has also contributed to the anthology, “Artisans and Co-operatives: Developing Alternative Trade for the Global Economy”, edited by Kimberly M. Grimes and B. Lynne Milgram, (University of Arizona Press).
Photo Credit: All photos by Nicole Babin unless otherwise noted.