SUBJECT: RAE WILSON
After spending the last year back in her hometown, St. Augustine FL. Rae has returned to NY and journeyed into a new phase of work. Rae has a remarkably warm soul and a passion for floristry. Experimenting in floristry and hailing from coastal existence there’s a dynamic relationship between living forms and the ocean present in her approach. Rae’s work, being still objects, somehow feels so alive.
We came across Rae while perusing Instagram, and her body of work stood out in a refreshing way. The gentle forms articulate in novel ways that uniquely explore a convergence of the natural and the intentional. Rae had a profound interest in the visual arts and for a long time imagined it restricted to flat surfaces. After taking a ceramics class, something unlocked, and a natural way of creating manifested.
Rae blends a variety of influences. You’ll find notes from modern sculptures blended with reimagined archetypes from ancient pottery. There is a certain draw of influence from times past in the presentation of objects, nature in the expression of form, and sophisticated whimsy as an overall tonality. Rae’s creative journey is one we’re keen on keeping up with.
THE OBJECT: TIDAL STONES
I have a vast collection of rocks and shells and at least one of them I’m always carrying with me. They like to ride around in my pockets. I’m particularly fond of a smooth nickel-sized one I found on the Maine shores while living there. Currently, I don't know where it is and it always turns up like a little surprise or gift. They are all important to me. It’s a representation of impermanence and how things popping in and out or changing.
Things come and go. There’s always that fear of loss and somehow, it’s that appreciation of impermanence that gives moments and things so much meaning. Slowing down to appreciate that this is with me now and may not be with me later, and knowing that’s ok.
Rae’s ocean pebbles are changed by every environmental element impressed upon them and the result is a beautiful visual journey you can see and feel. This is so clearly expressed in Rae’s approach. What’s especially noteworthy about Rae, is her present resolve to embrace and show change. Her work is alive, never having a final form or home. Each object is impressed upon by both the natural world and the context in which it is displayed. Unfinished, undulating climaxes, new interpretations that all change over time.
As a ceramist, you have to be willing to let things go. There are so many variables and stages of the process, and things can often change course. I’m more comfortable letting go of an expectation but still holding onto the intention and fully embracing the impermanence of the process.
My time in Maine was so special. I was at a very transitional intersection. I made many dear and close friends. I’m such a coastal person and the ocean is really important. It’s my blanket. And, it’s never the same from one moment to the next. It can be calm and gentle and in an instant a strong crashing magnificent force. It ebbs and flows and is interconnected. Having a pebble nearby means I’m always carrying a piece of that comforting ocean energy around with me. In my life, there’s been a lot of transition. There’s always movement, there’s always something happening.
Tell us about a time it was hard to be yourself, or when being yourself led to a breakthrough?
I had a hard time coming up with an example for this one. I do try to show up as authentically possible. It is an everyday practice, as we can be challenged by different people and a variety of pressures. It can be hard if there’s a perception of people having power over you, and it’s those times when I feel like my authenticity can be most challenged. Simply put, being myself means standing up for my thoughts and my true understanding of things. In relationships with people, it means creating boundaries and the space for myself to explore both what I like and what I don’t like. I find that it’s also being firm on not letting others’ opinions of you be self-limiting. We’re all just finding our way and there are many paths to get there. I think it's just as important to give others the space to get there, as it is to take that space for ourselves.
WHAT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT RAE, THAT YOU’D WANT EVERYONE TO HEAR?
IT’S MY UNIBROW. I used to get ridiculed because of my unibrow. Growing up I got teased so much and I begged my mom to pluck it. Now as an adult, people compliment my eyebrows and it’s a beautiful thing. Ironically, my eyebrows are the talk of the town now, but in a different way.