Coffees in hand on a beautiful Brisbane morning, I climb several flights of stairs in the iconic Metro Arts building to meet up with the tinsel queen, Rachel Burke. She had recently moved into a new studio space in this building, but upon walking into her studio, you wouldn’t know it. Tinsel frocks, jackets and hand crafted tinsel installations in progress are beautifully displayed. Under the table against the wall are giant tubs full of hand made pom-poms, just waiting to be stabbed by an apology on a toothpick. Struck by the visuals of bright lighting, beautiful lush plants and glittering tinsel, I think the word “Wow!” Esapes out of my mouth before I can even say hello.
We are meeting up to talk about Rachel’s ideas on creativity, and oh boy, she is brimming with it. She shows me around her space and points out an impromptu craft she had put together the night before using spray foam. She laughs as she talks about how her art comes about, seemingly in disbelief that what comes so naturally to her is so widely appealing. It makes her approach to art seem very accessible, and she would agree that anyone can do it. She reminisces about many a late night, hot glue gun in hand, and the magic of it all has me wondering what kind of treasures I have around the house to glue onto other things and jazz them up. That’s it. My name is Hillary Wall, and I’m completely dazzled by Rachel Burke.
And that’s exactly the idea. The tinsel, the pom-poms, the kinda-kitschy-yet-refined style. It’s so nostalgic and alluring, it makes you want to take a little road trip to tinsel town. Rachel recently published her second book, Be Dazzling, with DIY projects to add something extra to your life and wardrobe. Picture pages full of instructions on how to create ‘shoe-nicorns’, pipe cleaner crowns and pom-pom headpieces. She reckons that we can all add a little razzle dazzle to our life, and I reckon she’s right. Gotta go, my hot glue gun is all warmed up.