Speirs is an award winning self-taught artist who creates fascinating works using paper, fabric, sewing machine, hand stitching, gouache, watercolour, acrylic, embroidery and other objects.  Her background in social work has provided her with a combination of academic discipline and practice-based professional concern, as well as insight into the basic needs of communities.  This and her unique use of the medium collapses the division between conceptual art, contemporary art and the public. 
Speirs masterfully uses the materials to steep "metaphors as a way to translate questions of daily life and distort the unpleasant or mundane into an absurd and fractured folk tale."

Her sense of colour and layering of the various medium creates unexpected but deliberate placement of depth and texture. It gives an approachability of play and curiosity that draws the viewer into a satisfying sense of wonder, with a bit of love, whimsy, darkness, and hope thrown into the mix. It recognizes that we are not just one thing but a multi-faceted array of many things, much like the collage-like effect of Speirs' language.
For inquiries email: rachaelspeirs@rachaelspeirs.com 

As a child Rachael stole scraps of fabric from her mother’s sewing, filling her spare time with making and creating. Rachael would submerge herself into nature or a piece of music, allowing her imagination to run wild. As a self-taught artist, Rachael looked to her childhood picture books and her grandmothers embroidery work for inspiration and to practice her skill. As an adult art never left her. Rachael’s creative inspirations include Carson Ellis, Kate Bush, Shary Boyle, Frida Khalo, Amy Cutler and David Blackwood. Although she has a background in social work, she maintained her love and passion for art. Rachael’s education and working career in social work is reflected in the humanitarian elements of her work. Her pieces will forever showcase her need to share a human experience and to connect with the viewer. Rachael has participated in multiple exhibitions and received multiple awards and grants including best mixed media at Riverdale Art Walk, top 5 installations for DesignTO and has received grants through the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. Rachael is the 2021 recipient of the Craft Ontario Helen Frances Gregor award for textile art. Rachael is the current recipient of the Ontario Arts Council's Emerging Artist Project Grant. 
Artist Statement
Within my work I use scrap fabric, which I cut, layer and paint with gouache to create textural and narrative pieces. Embroidery and paper is added. The result is a collage-like piece that creates a visual metaphor, connecting current events and human experiences. The use of textiles is intrinsic to my work.  It allows me to connect with the viewer, as it appeals to their sense of nostalgia; it connects them to something that is in all our histories -- the handiwork, embroidery, quilts and other objects our grandmothers and great grandmothers made that were, in essence, art. 
My artwork has a strong humanitarian and narrative element. This ties into the storytelling aspect of the work. The work is inspired by vintage children’s book illustration and this, in combination with the traditional textile handicraft, references the haunting experience of sifting through our memories — poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget. 

Awards and Grants:
Riverdale Art Walk, Best Mixed Media, 2023
Craft Ontario, Helen Frances Gregor Award for Textile Art, 2021
Ontario Arts Council, Emerging Artist Project Grant, 2021 
First Prize, Best in Show, Cabbage Town Show and Sale, 2021
Riverdale Art Walk, Best Mixed Media Award, 2015
Toronto Arts Council, Level One Visual Arts Grant, 2013
Ontario Arts Council, Emerging Artist Project Grant, 2013
One of a Kind Show New Artisan Grant, 2011
McDonald Porter Dress Special Award, Cabbagetown Show and Sale, 2011

 Artist Talks:
Craft Ontario Award Winners Reception, 2021. (Toronto)

Press and Publications:
All She Makes Magazine, 3rd Edition, Double Page Spread Artist Feature. 2021
Curated collection; Altered Landscape, Pennylane Shen. Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, 2021
Curated collection; A Perfect Mix, Danielle Krysa (Jealous Curator). Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, 2021
Bohemianizm, Art From Rachael Speirs, July 2015
Canada Arts Connect, Massive Fabric Collages and Fairy Tales: An Interview with Toronto-based Artist Rachael Speirs, April 2014
Blog TO, 5 Must See Installations at Come Up To My Room 2013, January 2013
Views On Canadian Art, Toronto Design At The Gladstone Hotel: CUTMR, January 2013
Torontoist: Gladstone Hotel Unveils Come Up To my Room 2013. January 2013
Selected Exhibitions
Gallery House, Group Exhibition (Toronto)
Ali Budd Studios, art in design studio (Toronto)
Craft Ontario Front Window Exhibition (Toronto)
Art Gallery Hamilton Annual Sale (Hamilton)
The Artist Project (Toronto)
Mothra Artist Residence, Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto)
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (Toronto)
The Ghosts Of Childhood, Solo Exhibition, Gallery House (Toronto)

Art Gallery Mississauga Annual Juried Exhibition, (Mississauga)
Craft Ontario Awards Exhibition, Craft Ontario Gallery (Toronto)
Impact: Juried Exhibition (Toronto)
The Artist Project, (Online)
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, (Online and in person, Stackt Market)
Blue Crow Gallery, Annual Group Show (Toronto)
Art Quarters Gallery, Group Show (Toronto)
Cabbagetown Art Show and Sale (Toronto)
Art Gallery of Hamilton Annual Art Sale (Online)

The Artist Project, Better Living Centre, Toronto
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Annual Show and Sale, Hamilton Ontario
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (online), Toronto
Riverdale Art Walk (online), Toronto

Oakville Art in The Park, Oakville
Riverdale Art Walk, Toronto
The Textile Show, Gerrard Art Space, Toronto

Solo Exhibition, Meet Your Maker Gallery, Stratford. 
Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto
Oakville Art In the Park, Oakville
Toronto Art Walk, Toronto
Riverdale Art Walk, Toronto
Cabbagetown Show and Sale, Toronto
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Toronto
Come Up To My Room 2013, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Toronto
Cabbagetown Show and Sale, Toronto
Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto
Illuminated Bones, Solo Exhibit, Love of Mine, Toronto
Hard Twist, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
Solo Exhibit, Arts on Queen, Toronto
Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto
'Fabricate' Group Show, Meredith Keith Gallery, Toronto
Cabbagetown Show and Sale, Toronto
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Toronto
'Scraps´ Solo Exhibit, Gladstone Hotel Art Bar
Riverdale Art Walk, Toronto
Group Show, Freedom Clothing Collective, Toronto
The One of a Kind Show, Toronto

Meredith Keith Gallery, Bracebridge, Ontario.

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