Rebecca Yeomans has lived her entire life centered around making. She learned to knit at eight years old and was considered the “class artist” in school. She studied studio art at UNC-Chapel Hill, receiving a BFA in 1974. After earning an MFA from Auburn University in 1979 she taught there for several years. Rebecca and her husband Tom moved to Wilmington, NC in 1984 and she worked as a scenic artist in the film industry. She was a founding board member for DREAMS of Wilmington and later taught classes. Her fiber jewelry can be seen at the CAM gift shop. After she and Tom raised two artsy daughters, Rebecca quickly moved into full time artist mode. Her current work combines botanical printing, knitting, and stitching with a painterly feel.
The botanical printmaking process is almost always the inspiration and starting point for my work. Eco or botanical printing is the art of transferring color from natural plant material on to fabric or paper using pressure, moisture, and heat. Beautiful contact plant portraits are captured by bundling vegetation and fabric, either by rolling around a pipe or stacking in layers and binding tightly. The bundle is then steamed or immersed in simmering natural dye coaxing the pigment out of the leaves and on to the cloth. Results depend on many variables: type of fabric, water source, plant species, season, climate, and type of vessel used to name a few. Thus each piece is unique and always a surprise. The process involves many steps: scouring, mordanting, pre dyeing, printing with plant material, post dyeing, rinsing, and perhaps printing again. I enjoy the relationship with the natural world inherent in the process: foraging walks, growing my own dye plants, the aroma of cooking eucalyptus, and the opening of a bundle to reveal what gift Mother Nature has given. When a piece of printed paper or cloth excites me, I begin the slow process of embellishing. This involves tearing fabric, arranging and rearranging, pinning, basting, and deciding on a place to start. I approach this process intuitively, reacting playfully, exploring this or that, asking what if? The piece evolves and its story unfolds. Hopefully a lovely whole is created by the intricate details. In a nutshell, the beauty of the materials and the process of making are what my artwork is about. I am co-creating with Mother Nature and collaborating with the fabric, yarn, and thread.