Rachel Lyra Hospodar has been doing strange things with textiles her whole life, weaving spiderwebs between bushes in the backyard when she was a child. She cut her teeth in the theater, building scenery, costumes, and props for everything from plays and musicals to cabaret and the circus. She studied drawing, painting, carpentry, welding, drafting, structural design, and scenery design without being able to pick one or settle down. In 2005 Rachel launched her fashion label Medium Reality as a felting studio, making brightly colored hats and hairpieces from handpainted merino wool. She developed unique felting processes and demonstrated them on national TV.
It was during this time that Rachel began producing independent artist showcase events under the banner Pandora's Trunk. This showcase grew from an underground warehouse trunk sale to a hundred-person performance & artistic showcase in a lush 300-seat theater. At one point the project spawned a retail boutique showing independent designers and artists.
Over time Medium Reality's focus shifted from pure textile work to reclaimed materials, and in 2007 the label was reborn as a source for recycled menswear. Audiences consistently love this work. It has also been featured in Altered Couture magazine, and Rachel was tapped as the technical editor of 'Reconstructing Clothes for Dummies'. Through Medium Reality, Rachel continues to offer artisanal menswear as well as experimenting with women's garments and new sewn products for wholesale using reclaimed materials.
Rachel has worked as a mixed media collage artist since getting involved with Manchester Craftsman's guild in the nineties. MCG also brought her west for the first time, and was where she began studying photography. Rachel has shown her work in boutiques, cafes, bars, beauty salons, and other nontraditional venues across San Francisco, as well as being a member of City Art cooperative gallery on Valencia St. and showing at Fabric8 urban art gallery nearby. Her current work includes laser etchings of her photographs of San Francisco as well as extensive use of collage and acrylics.
Hospodar's lifelong twin passions for the arts and the sciences continue to inform each other in her work, and she seems to have a knack for merging organic and data-driven worlds. This is true thematically as well as in production techniques and as an approach to execution. It is most starkly evident in her latest project, the Pants Interface. This project embeds electronics into garments to create a whole host of surprising possibilities. She is also a member of the board of directors for Noisebridge, a nonprofit space dedicated to providing a free public workspace and resource center for creative projects involving technology.