Rachel Carren cannot remember a time when she was not interested in the arts.

Rachel began her formal artistic education in the studio arts, but found she also had a passion for art history. She has a BA in art history and English literature and a PhD in 19th century art history, with a special emphasis on American art. She often explains art history as a wonderful discipline that teaches about the art, the artist and the cultural context, which is important because art is never created in a vacuum.

After becoming aware of polymer (a synthetic modeling compound) as an art medium, Rachel experimented independently for a number of years. A seminal moment came in 1999 when she learned that polymer was compatible with acrylic pigment. This revelation initiated her enduring fascination with the surface of the material. Issues of ornamentation and the innate harmony of geometric form are the focus of her current artistic explorations. Rachel’s polymer art is in the permanent collection of a number of American museums.

The past few years, she has been researching and writing about polymer as well. Rachel is the curator of the book Masters: Polymer Clay. She has been involved with the Polymer Art Archive since its inception, most visibly as a contributor of critical commentary. She also has been working with Elise Winters to implement the Polymer Collection Project. This effort has promoted the serious consideration of polymer art among museum curators and encouraged the establishment of a center for the study of polymer art at the Racine Museum of Art.

Rachel lives near Washington, DC. Her studio and writing desk are in adjacent rooms.