The Artistry of Rachel Stewart
Happy Sunday Luvs!
I believe that there are two types of people that come into your life. One you teach or influence and the other teaches or influences you. Whether they are with you but only for a season or as lasting as a lifetime either way their presence makes a statement. Over the course of the past few months I've had the blessed opportunity to meet some amazingly gifted creative change agents that have inspired me so much. One of those phenomenal people is Rachel Stewart. I can tell you about her accomplishments as an artist, jewelry designer, photographer, handbag designer, music mixologist, or her all around creative dopeness but then that would be boxing her in. Not to mention she's from my hometown of Wilson, North Carolina. She's creatively beyond a category and as one of her thousands of followers on her social media I've watched her creative designs evolve. This month on the weekend of September 24th her jewelry line will be featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening. Recently, she was in a video shot by photographer and videographer Chris Charles for Moleskine's "She's Gotta Have It" Notebook Collection for Spike Lee in celebration of the film's 30th Anniversary. We had a chance to talk about these exciting opportunities and more over at The Counting House Restaurant & Art Gallery in Durham, NC.
Photo Credits: Chris Charles of Creative Silence Photography and Design & Rachel Stewart Photography
So here's how it all went down.......
The Rachel Stewart Jewelry line will be at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture this Fall. What are you most looking forward to with this amazing opportunity?
I'm actually more excited about the museum than I am with my jewelry but its just a great opportunity to reach a broader audience. I'm just glad they appreciate my work enough to be in a museum of that caliber. There is going to be a lot of other designers whose work will be in the gift shop too but I'm just honored to be recognized that my work is good enough for their patrons. That makes me feel good.
When I first moved to North Carolina one of my favorite places to go and still is the North Carolina Museum of Art. Back in the early 90's when I first moved here I kept saying I'm going to have my art featured in this museum one day maybe even when I'm dead. My next goal is for my art to be in a museum.- Rachel Stewart
Where do you get your inspiration from with your art?
I don't have an inspiration. I know people want to hear that you do and what that is or that you have a process but I don't have that. So when people ask me that I can be a jerk and say I don't know I just draw or paint or a could make up something to say oh I get inspiration from the trees when I look up into the sky. I'm just getting to a point where I don't have an inspiration but I just love to paint. I love to create something and its just something I like to do. I just enjoy it and its just a passion.
What is next for Rachel Stewart?
I'm focusing on my bags because I've dealt with so much theft with my jewelry designs. Its kind of been a deterrent because why would you want to create something else and someone is just going to steal it then make more money from it than I do. So I'm focusing more on my bag design. I want to find more fabrics and leathers for luxury bags. So I want to learn the process of working with leather and how to manipulate it to make real leather bags. I don't have any experience with that. So I'm going to focus on making high quality bags and maybe a luxury line.
What goals do you have for your photography business?
I want to try to make videos. Pictures are great for marketing but people are doing more videos so I want to start doing more short films. Video equipment is becoming more and more affordable. So now your seeing more photographers moving into video and its just another form of expression.
Video Credit: Chris Charles of Creative Silence Photography and Design for Moleskine and Spike Lee
One thing I want to focus on is body positive typing and I don't want to stick to one model type because I don't want to be a disservice to my clients. So I want to have all types of women featured whether their short like me and you or plus size but just different body types. I want plus size models, I want older women with grey hair, and just more models that look like me mixed in with the high end fashion type of models we already have. - Rachel Stewart
What type of music do you like to listen to?
Well you know I have my mixes that I do. The reason why I make them is because I don't listen to the radio. There's nothing on the radio that I like and I'm not against music on the radio I'm just not into it. I've been doing this for like almost 20 years. I was making mix cassettes back in the day because I didn't like anything on the radio so I would make my own mixes. Then it went to CD's but now everything is digital. I actually have my own vinyls I like to collect. I like to collect them for sentimental reasons because its music I grew up to. I love the "B-Side" of albums the songs you don't get to hear on the radio. The reason I make mixes is not because I'm trying to be a DJ because I'm not. I don't know how to blend the music. I just like to create my own music because I don't like what I'm being told to listen to. When I make my mixes I say let me share this with everybody because I'm not the only person that likes to listen to it. Frankie Beverly & Maze have so many songs but on the radio you may only hear two. If an album has 12 songs why would you neglect the other 10 of them because most of the time the "B-Side" is better music. That's the story of my mixes and the artwork I put with it I enjoy doing. So it feels like this is a real album I'm making here.
Rachel Stewart's creative journey is a life lesson example of self-expression. She has taken her love for art, culture, style, and photography to a level of excellence. She is apart of the fabric of our culture and her presence radiates artistic light. I believe each of us are born with gifts and an appreciation we can offer to one another is to acknowledge as well as support the talents of our fellow woman or man. Her brand has set a legacy and there is still so much more we can expect to see with Rachel Stewart. We wish her continued success in all of her endeavors. As a friend and client I can't wait to see what she creates next.
Until next time Ladies & Gentleman this is The Lux Blog. - K. Knight