artist spotlight
Rachael Brooke

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Rachael Brooke

What does it mean to you to join the North Lands Creative network and be part of building a community for glass?


During this time where we can’t travel overseas, it has been such a joy to be a part of the Northlands Creative Community. It has also been an amazing opportunity for me to see the work of other glass artists around the globe.


Tell us about your work. What influences translate into your art practice?


The joy and wonder I have experienced from discovery processes has been a main driver in my work; from noticing the graceful movement of wind blowing through a canopy of trees above my head, to seeing the textures in my glass reflect off in a marvellous display of flowing light.


Has this changed the way you approach your work?


As a result of prioritising the experience of discovery, my studio flows between the natural landscapes around me as well as the indoor studio space. For me, discovering what glass can do in surprise moments and experiments is just as inspiring to me as when I am spending time in awe of nature.


What initially captured your imagination about glass?


The diaphanous qualities of glass and the ways in which my first blown objects could reflect, refract and interact with light was what made me curious about the material.


What’s the significance of the handmade to you?


Glass can seem very cold, hard and untouchable, yet it’s through holding and moving blown objects with my hands that I have truly discovered the amazing illuminating qualities and macro details of glass. In my eyes, the significance of the handmade is the connection with the literal hands of the maker, and the opportunity for nuanced discoveries that comes with that relationship to materials.


What was your route to becoming an artist?


As a young girl I first learnt to appreciate the natural world through the lens of a camera and continued to follow my curiosity as I studied Glassmaking at the Australian National University in Canberra Australia. Now I work across various new technologies and traditional mediums and learn about any medium I can get my hands on.

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


Currently my main mediums are photography, glass making, video work, painting and drawing and I often use a combination of these. For example, I enjoy using blown glass forms as tools for capturing their reflections in videos or macro photography.


How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?


Being a part of the Glass, Meet the Future Film festival was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me – to see that video work exploring the qualities of glass had a space and story to tell. My connections between the diaphanous materials in the landscape and glass within my art lends itself to this narrative.


Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?


My artistic process starts with experiencing the landscape, documenting with photographs and videos as well as writing and simply meditating in nature. Often, I will use my documentations in collaboration with other materials such as glass. Experimenting with different mediums also provides me with inspiration as I utilise mistakes and purposefully bring elements of surprise into my work.


Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?


I look up to artist like Holly Grace who utilise light to enhance their work and take be back to those special moments in the environments I love.


What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?


James Turrell has always been one of my favourite artists. His Sky Space outside the National Gallery of Australia has always been a peaceful sanctuary for me and a different experience every time I visit. The creative use of materials and video installations by Pipilotti Rist also inspire my video work and remind me to push for new ideas.


How are you experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in your country? To what extent has your everyday life as an artist changed in lockdown?


Luckily the pandemic is under control for the most part here in Australia and life isn’t too changed for me like it is in other places. Luckily I can still be a part of international communities of artists through Northlands, though it is one of my goals to visit in person one day.

Rachael Brooke

Rachael is an artist working with glass and mixed media as she explores mundane yet magical phenomena’s in nature, asking the viewers to look closer at the wonderful environments around us.