I make work based around being a woman, and my own experiences as a woman. My work explores the social roles that are projected onto people within today’s society, stereotypes of gender and the relationship between man and woman. The work is tactile, about making things people want to touch, about repulsion and desire – work that is sometimes so disgusting the audience feel uncomfortable looking at it, yet can’t look away. The work is about sexuality and gender, about periods and the reproductive system, about texture and skin and flesh, about soft vs hard, about body hair and head hair – how it is seen as desirable as a woman to have long luscious locks on your head yet to be completely free of any body hair, about relationships and growth and change, but most of all, it is about being a woman. By making work through the means of stitching, knitting and weaving, I embrace and reclaim the female stereotypes that are assigned to women and girls by society. I am homemaker – my studio is based at my home in Winton, Bournemouth, where I knit every evening from the sofa, with a curly dog at either side. I take objects and materials from my home (such as old, used bedding that are stained and lived in, loved in) and materials from the Dorset Scrapstore combining them in a repetitive, process-led way to give voice to the female body. www.rachelsheldrake.com Bournemouth, UK