Rebekah Miles

Rebekah hails from five generations of farmers in Carpinteria, California, with an generous portion of artist ancestors sprinkled in there, including her dad, grandma, uncles, aunts, great aunts, great-great aunts….Her family grows avocados, cherimoyas, and other subtropical fruits. Rebekah studied art and now works for a small local organic produce delivery business in Santa Barbara. Her work combines material and inspiration from the past to make textiles, ceramics, and paintings that speak to the value of the handmade, of craft, and of work.

The Hand Stitched Quilts
Totally inspired by the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, I began my first quilt while staying in my family’s ranch house. My grandmother has saved some of everything from the past century, including all of her worn-in work aprons, clothes and fabrics. I started using these fabrics (and a few others I have found here and there) to make intuitive patterns for my quilts, sewing the pieces together on my old Bernina sewing machine, then stitching the layers together by hand, taking about two months to top-stitch the entire quilt. Though I live in California and come from a different history, I feel connected to the Gee’s Bend quilters through this beautiful process.

The Hand Painted Plates
I am making a collection of hand painted bird plates, working from 17th and 18th century bird illustrations This idea was kind-of inspired by an exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. I make my ceramic plates using a hand-building technique with slabs and molds. After the plates are bisque-fired, I paint them using mason stains and a clear glaze. Along with birds, the images I choose are often inspired by nature and poetry.

The Hand Painted Book Covers
Each book that I cover is part of my dream library. When I find a book, I choose an image from the book to paint for the cover illustration. If the book is not illustrated, I find an image that is complimentary to its contents. I paint my version of the original illustration and the cover text (title, author and publisher) on a hand-cut paper jacket, using a heavy weight glossy paper and acrylic paints. This process gives the book a new essence, and restores it to better shape (I try to find used books). It also makes it a functional sculpture/painting.

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