Rachel David, raised in Maryland resident of Waynesville NC, is a blacksmith, sculptor, designer, and maker. Her metalwork practice is holistic; encompassing art, furniture, architectural elements, activism, collaborations, and gardening. The work focuses on social and environmental justice, community, and communication; analyzing the many layers of colonization, restraints, and expectations across bodies and landscapes.
Iron is found at the center of the earth as pulsing magma, in space as meteors, and in our bodies as blood cells. Rachel forges metals (heats steel to 1700-2300 F and hammers) to massage shapes and forms referencing bodies and landscapes from a parent stock. Her work focuses on deep concerns about social inequalities, environmental degradation, and systemic prejudices. The goal is to expose these injustices, and to promote productive conversations about them. The work is inspired by her life and body, the landscapes she has passed through and the processes of metalworking she specializes in. The forms and textures reference physical restraints, shibari, cellulite, valleys, hills, and crevasses. Her studio furniture is an expression of conceptual grit and a practice in relations; the relation of ornament, utility, and feeling. Each creative opportunity is another chance to challenge herself as a maker and citizen: a moment when she takes risks to express her feelings and expand her understanding of both materials and concepts.
Rachel has been a visiting artist at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (LA), The Crucible (CA), and Community-First Forge (TX). She taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (ME), Peters Valley School of Craft (NJ), Appalachian Center for Craft (TN), the New Agrarian School (MT), and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (IL). Rachel organized and curated the exhibitions Nu Iron Age in 2017 and Meta Formation: Experiments and Rituals in 2019. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions and received Best in Show and Artist Gold Choice award at the Smithsonian Craft Show in 2019, only the second time in their history. Her work has been published in books and magazines including Ironwork Today 4 and is included in the collections of the City of New Orleans, the Simone Benetton Foundation, and numerous private individuals.