Profile of an Artist: Rebecca Wheat of Lily of the Valley

What a beautiful knitted hat!

Rebecca Wheat of Lily of the Valley

This week we will begin a recurring feature here at the Easel in which we sit down with new artist each session and pick their brains about their background, process, and future plans. I would like to introduce to you Rebecca Wheat of Lily of the Valley. A renaissance woman of the arts, Becca has explored and developed a broad range of skills including fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning), textile arts (sewing, clothing design, handbag design, quilting, and costuming), underwater basket weaving (no really), painting (acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel), drawing, graphic design, jewelry design, pottery, and pyrography (wood and gourds).

As a child, Becca began to draw as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. She was taught to sew and crochet at the age of five  and was making her own stuffed animals and dolls soon after. By middle school, she was making her own clothing and stitching her own self-designed embroidery.  Her creativity was recognized in school with scholarships to adult level watercolor painting classes and numerous arts awards along the way and by her parents who allowed her to paint all over her bedroom walls.

The piece of which Becca is most proud

Becca's Great Grandmother Martha Ellen Hisel

Her middle and high school art education was greatly influenced by Chris Pierce, an influential teacher from Berea College who supplemented her standard education with techniques including the lost wax casting of jewelry, granted her free reign with a darkroom and photographic equipment, and allowed her to do murals on the walls, pottery on and off the wheel, and lino-cutting. She entered Berea College and completed  her first year as a studio art major before ultimately completing her degree as an Agriculture major. Throughout college, Becca took several art courses, spent a summer designing a course with painter and instructor Neil DiTeresa, and worked three semesters with Fireside Weavers learning weaving, warping, reading drafts, and loom setup. 

After graduation, Becca spent a year working with Berea’s Famous Churchill Weavers where she collaborated with the design team and worked primarily as a flyshuttle weaver. She currently works for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture state veterinarian’s office in the equine programs where she is able to indulge in her (second) love of horses. In her spare time, Becca makes jewelry and accessories for sale. You can find her products on Etsy at Lily of the Valley. She describes her style as vintage inspired and her favorite materials are vintage chains and lockets that can be taken apart and reimagined as a new piece.

Lily of the Valley Bracelet
Lily of the Valley Bracelet

Becca describes her process as being somewhat tangential. She will develop an interest in particular themes which have historically included natural motifs such as oak leaves and flowers combined with vintage lockets and classic cameos and will ride out that creative wave until it is eclipsed by a new interest.

Becca participates in several festivals throughout the year and regularly mans a booth at the Downtown Lexington’s Artist’s Market with her friend Amanda Richie and the invaluable support of her boyfriend Matt. She also has a booth at The Bazaar, a unique gathering place and thrift store that benefits the Lexington Rescue Mission.

Her dream is to establish and run a Lexington Artist’s Co-op with permanent space that is used to benefit Lexington and its resident crafters and artisans. She imagines a permanent gallery space, as well as a gallery for featured artists.  Prerequisite room to frolic would allow dance classes and an in house coffee shop and artisan pizza café manned by Chef Matt. Until this dream comes to fruition, she pursues efforts to organize local artisans who vend online by establishing Artfire guilds for Kentucky state artisans and participating in Etsy teams.

Becca’s new and upcoming projects include developing jewelry designs featuring polymer clay and designing a maternity/postpartum friendly line of clothing for local children’s boutique Cradle Will Rock. She is also extremely interested in learning how to tattoo professionally. You can follow Becca’s journey through the arts on any of the following social media outlets:

http://kentuckylily.wordpress.com/

I want this hat!

Yes, she even dabbles in haberdashery!

http://www.facebook.com/lilyofthevalleyky

http://twitter.com/kentuckylily

You can shop online for Becca’s designs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/lilyofthevalleyky

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Errant Easel Feature: Artist Profile! « Lily of the Valley
  2. Ms. Mammy
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 11:39:30

    I think you are wonderful. Love your Mammy.

    Reply

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