Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet the Mob: Sponsorship Director, Educator, and Fine Artist, Rachel Murdock

Rachel Murdock is one of the founding member of the Alternate Fashion Mob and a dear friend of mine so I am pleased to provide some background on this lovely young lady for the AFM!  Rachel and I met several years ago through membership in another arts-related organization and after many interactions on behalf of that group, became friends. During the time I have known her, I have been impressed by her enthusiasm, work ethic, and tireless efforts on behalf of the arts in our fair city. She is also very creative in a multitude of artistic genres, including painting, mixed media, and fashion accessories.
She graduated with a Bachelor's in Art Education with an emphasis on Art Therapy from Capital University (she's a West side native). In addition to being an educator, she is also a fine artist and crafter. Currently, she teaches art at a suburban elementary school and loves it (the kids definitely love her, too, as I have seen from her FB posts!)  So every day she has the opportunity to use her training and creativity to inspire little ones to express themselves.  She will also be completing a Master's Degree this summer in  Curriculum and Instruction Design.rach 4

When asked to define her art, she said: Perhaps it is due to my art therapy background, but I tend to focus more on the process. My painting style is very organic in that I tend to allow myself to be inspired by how I'm feeling, the textures I want to create, the colors. I'm big on color theory and I guess you could describe my art as experiments in that. I gravitate towards mixed media and have an eye for papers and findings that could be incorporated into my work. I guess I'm a little magpie. I look for things that I consider to be special.

One of her passions is creating hair pieces (headbands, combs, fascinators, etc.) that have a retro quality to them using cruelty-free feathers, vintage brooches, and hand-dyed lace. She also
make flowers from old slips or remnants of fabric that she finds particularly beautiful (I have donated many to that art form!) but her most common (and what she states are fun) pieces are bridal.

I asked Rachel how she chose to get involved with the great group of creative folks of the Alternative Fashion Mob. She said that when Kelli Martin (a fellow West Sider whom she met during ComFest meetings) asked her to meet with a group of like-minded individuals to discuss "an idea" she had in the Fall of 2012, she jumped at the opportunity. That started the planning of an alternative fashion event in a truly grassroots fashion. As plans evolved, the Alternative Fashion Mob (now their official name) realized that Columbus could handle a year FULL of fun and engaging fashion inspired events. And that is how the  Alternative Fashion Mob was born!

As with all of the Fashion Mobsters (their affectionate name for each other), she wears many hats and is involved with the event planning for the group. Right now, I like to say I am a Jill of all trades, but I have evolved into the Sponsorship Director. I produce the content and levels for our sponsorships and seek in-kind and monetary donations to help fund Alternative Fashion Week. I also coordinate the annual art sale and mixer. 
Honestly, I was amazed that this group of only six like-minded individuals managed to pull off an amazing week of alternative fashion culminating in a one-of-a-kind Grand Finale Runway Show featuring local designers in a mere SIX MONTHS! Everything fell into place for them as they worked diligently to get this movement rolling. And I will vouch for that. Attending the finale was one of the highlights of my spring last year. So many creative designers right here in Columbus... I felt like I was sitting on the runway of a Paris design house. What excitement!

But the group and Rachel are not resting on their laurels. They have been busy, busy since Fall 2013 getting prepared for an even more spectacular round of events for 2014, which started with the 2nd Annual Simply ArtRageous Art Sale and Mixer on Saturday, February 8th at Camelot Cellars from 5:00-9:00pm coordinated by Rachel. All artwork for sale was generously donated by local artists to help fund Alternative Fashion Week 2014 (AFW14)!
A Kickstarter Campaign is also in progress, so Rachel encourages everyone to read it, share it, and donate if you're able! rach 8

In addition to all of these things, she has been a model for several events, one of which was the Condom Couture event hosted by Planned Parenthood where she modeled the first place dress (designed by CCAD student Sarah Ribble). All gowns/fashions were made entirely from condoms! She also was a model for Kelli Martin during last year's finale event.

On January 23rd, she was also interviewed on Columbus Alive ( ) about the AFM and AFW and did a rockin' job promoting the event/group!
Rachel indicates that the end goal of Alternative Fashion Mob is to open the Columbus Fashion Incubator (or CFI if you like acronyms) with a brick and mortar storefront to offer workshops and educational opportunities aimed at providing workshops for both artists and the community at large as well as featuring local designers' fashions. When this dream comes to fruition, Rachel plans to take on the role of "Community Outreach Director for Arts and Education" or something to that effect.

It seems to me that Columbus is ready for the fashion explosion that is gonna occur, partially because of the efforts of these Mobsters, and I hope that I get to ride on their coattails! You'll find me promoting them, their events, and doing justice to the amazing talent that we have "right here in this river city!"  Stay tuned for interviews with the other co-founders in the coming weeks, followed by interviews with the AFW14 designers.

Written by Vicki Oster

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