Rebecca Ratzlaff is a fiber artist currently working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She worked extensively in ceramics and foundry as an undergraduate at UW-Whitewater, and she received her MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.
One of her recent works, Look For the Union Label, sought to address the volatile human rights violations that undergird the economic practices of our country in a rapidly globalizing world. The American hybrid of “commercial patriotism” is often used as a tool to obscure the fact that Americans are essentially merchandising themselves out of the workforce. Meanwhile, a parallel of our own troubled history of labor equity and human rights is playing out in the present time of other workers, in other countries, creating products charged with our own patriotic symbols of merchandising. A world without boundaries has emerged in which wars of commerce, trade, and basic human survival are haplessly intermeshed.
Look For the Union Label A 14’4″ x 9’2″ quilt, based on the “log cabin” motif. Each 8″ square within the red and white stripes frames a clothing label (still attached to the original garment). Each star within the flag’s blue area frames a union label. All clothing labels incorporated into the stripes are foreign made, and have corporate logos referencing America. Additionally, the area within the stripes geographically maps out the United States. The 4” photographic border includes images of past and current American labor issues, along with present day images of foreign workers (often children). Read More about Look for the Union Label