ARTIST INTERVIEW: Rachel Craven
Rachel Craven is the co-founder of the Echo Park Craft Fair, as well as a textile artist, designer and creative consultant who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. The daughter of two painters, she grew up in the arts focused neighborhood of Tribeca and later attended the School of Visual Arts. After school, a stint as a fashion stylist took her to Los Angeles where she transitioned back to painting and design. A passion for fabric and geometric design led to her line of linen, silk, wool, and velvet caftans. The vibrant and elegant collection can be found at Clic, Tenoversix, and General Store. Rachel has been featured in Domino, C Magazine, Apartment Therapy, T Magazine and Martha Stewart’s Living.
What are your most important artistic tools?
Light – I love great light especially morning sunlight. Waking up early and working in my studio is heaven. I love my watercolors and brushes. Painting is something I have always done. My mother and my grandmother were painters and we all painted together in the summers at the beach.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
I am very much inspired by living in California and the ocean. The air, the light, the infinite summer. I make clothes for a Californian lifestyle, relaxed, comfortable yet chic. My Fall/Winter Collection was inspired by the colors of Northern California. Katrina Dickson shot my look book up at Sea Ranch in Sonoma County…it was a dream. Katrina grew up there so her photos have an intimacy about them.
Who are some current artists, creators, or people working in other fields whose work you admire?
I love female artists – I have been obessed since art school with Agnes Martin. Though I have a special place for Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Mary Heilman, Jackie Winsor and many other Feminist artists of the 1960’s and 70’s. I love artists who made their own clothes. I am deeply inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s cocoon dresses of the 1940’s. I love uniforms. Something you don’t have to think about- you just feel comfortable and chic.
Did you have any artists or creative people in your family? If so, how did they influence you?
Both of my parents are artists. My mother is a potter and my father is a painter. My grandmother was a watercolor painter. Growing up with artists very much influenced me. They taught be about color and texture from a very early age. We always had a studio in our home. When I started making clothes- I wanted to make something that both my mother and I could wear. Something that we both would feel confident and beautiful in. I found the cocoon to be that perfect shape. Flattering for all. We all loved linen- My grandmother had these incredible Italian linen sheets, my father painted on linen, my mother has always worn linen. Linen was an obvious choice – I loved the tactile quality and it had history for me.
I feel a great sense of community because of the Echo Park Craft Fair.
As the Fair has evolved, the core values and intentions have always remained the same – to provide a vibrant gathering place for a circle of artists to commune, share and inspire. The goal of these bi-annual celebrations is nothing less than a shared catharsis, a moment where talented creatives are not only able showcase amazing new work, but also to motivate, encourage and care for one another.
Photos of Rachel and her studio by Laure Joliet for Domino Magazine
Model photos by Katrina Dixon