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ABOVE Robin - lifesize

Rachel Higgins

Rachel studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 1993 and now manages a busy schedule of exhibitions, public art and private commissions with her beautifully observed metal sculptures.

Whilst at college she began making sculptures and automata from discarded objects found on the family farm – assembling them using methods borrowed from farm repairs, such as welding, tying and riveting. She has continued to develop these techniques over the past decade, transforming unpromising raw materials into refined, poised works of art. 

Rachel’s recent work draws on her past experience whilst also delving into new materials and techniques, often using perforated metal over the armature to build up her basic forms – inspired by the material used for milking parlour filters. The artist is also experimenting with enamelling and silversmithing to explore the ideas of decoration and protection in the animal world.

Her range of sculptures is diverse but restricted to the animal world - a menagerie of wagging tails and flapping wings, larger than life preening herons, ambling badgers, a grazing pig and tiny, delicate dragonflies. Each piece being created from careful observation of the animal and one instinctively knows that she care for these creatures and has an intimate knowledge of their habits and characteristics without making caricatures.  

The relationship between human and animal is integral to her work and viewers are often invited to animate a sculpture by using a hand crank, lever or buttons. Long handles suggesting the often-limited proximity between humans and wild animals and birds operate some of the automata.

Commissions and collections include:
Herons and Fishes, The Market Square, Warwick
Migration, The Boots Library, Nottingham
Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum 

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