'Into the Haze' is the new exhibition at Botany by Paper Cover Rock, the art and design work of Rachel Caunt. Rachel started working with collage about nine years ago during a short period of time living in Driftwood, Texas. She became fascinated with a collection of old kaleidoscopes, the patterns and colours that they produced and attempted to recreate them using tissue paper, tweezers and a great deal of patience. 'Into the Haze' is a collection of work in response to three weeks Rachel spent in Japan in Spring 2017.
“The designs began to take shape very naturally on my return. My mind was full of all the beauty we had seen and the joy I felt discovering new and inspiring places each day. The attention to detail and thoughtful consideration in every aspect of Japanese design is astounding and yet it is presented with an effortless simplicity. I wanted to create pieces of work that captured the colour palette that emerged from my memories and photographs, as well as the feeling of calm that I experienced whist gaining at insight into their wonderful way of life”.
What attracts you to collage?
I have always loved paper and paper products. I enjoy sourcing different colours and textures, as well as flicking through magazines and newspapers, tearing out elements that catch my eye. My creative process generally starts with me sitting in a sea of paper, selecting pieces that suit a mood or help tell a story. Often compositions develop simply from emptying a box of paper and spotting an interesting combination of colours, textures or shapes. There is a randomness to it, happy little accidents.
I also like the freedom of collage. I usually leave the elements of a new design on my desk for some time, revisiting and playing around with the layout, before I commit to a final composition.
What is your daily routine?
Recently it’s involved morning sickness but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that…
I spend much of the week working from my desk space at our North London flat. I find that, when working from home, it’s important to have a good structure and routine, or the sofa becomes a temptation and the housework a distraction. My day always starts with a pot of coffee and tends to include a short walk. I have an online shop so the destination of the walk is often the Post Office. Unless I have a deadline or a heavy workload, I like to keep fairly normal office hours. I think it’s important to relax and enjoy your evenings and weekends.
I’m sure this ‘routine’ will change quite dramatically once our little boy arrives at the end of May.
Tell us about the kind of materials you use?
At present, I always work with paper but I would love to experiment with a variety of materials in the future.
Most projects start with a trip to Shepherds on Gillingham Street – paper heaven! I bought some beautiful handmade papers during our visit to Japan last year so I have incorporated those into many of my most recent pieces, including those created for my exhibition at Botany.
Recently I found a large pile of craft magazines from the 1970’s at a local charity shop. The paper is matte, much nicer than glossy, modern publications and the colours and textures found in the imagery have been providing me with a bountiful supply of inspiration.
Where/what/who inspires you?
On a daily basis, I am inspired by my surroundings, paying attention to the smallest details and finding beauty in ordinary places. I like the way that paint peels on derelict walls revealing colours beneath and the unintentional collages that are created by torn advertising posters.
The most striking colour combinations can often be found in nature, with different places having their own colour palette. Bodnant Garden in North Wales has become a very special place to me in recent years. Its beauty is magical and fills me with ideas. During our trip to Japan, we spent a day walking across Amanohashidate, a pine covered sandbar that spans the mouth of Miyazu Bay. It was stunningly beautiful and evoked all kinds of emotions. Some places just stay with you once you’ve left.
There are so many talented artists, designers and makers working both locally and all around the world and we are now lucky enough to have such incredible access to their creations via social media. I seem to find a new favourite artist every day and that’s very exciting.
The exhibition includes both original collages, as well as high quality Giclée prints on Hahnemühle PhotoRag 308gsm. All the art work on display is available to purchase.
Photography by Jon Aaron Green and Botany