Dr. Tracey Rico

A juxtaposition of ideas, elements, and consciousness is pervasive in the works of fiber artist Dr. Tracey Rico. Her naïve expressionist combinations of African and Asian symbols, themes, and fabrics echo her own heritage and life experience. She uses cloth as a medium to convey the importance of the link between the African experience on this planet and the identity and consciousness of people of color today. As such, her use of contemporary quilting techniques attempts to weave together elements of emotion and spirit to tie the past to the present and create tangible reminders of a very rich and often tumultuous cultural history, as well as an indelible artistic impression.

Dr. Rico is one of a handful of residency/fellowship-trained physicians in the United States who has Board Certification in both Emergency and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She has spent more than fifteen years obtaining those credentials. Although sewing has always been a part of her life, she began quilting as a way to become quiescent from the hectic pace of the Emergency Room. “Saving lives can be very rewarding; however, it comes with a heavy price. On a daily basis I am confronted with pain, suffering and death…. the practice of Trauma and Accident Medicine can be very objectionable at times. Quilting is like meditation. It requires that I be still quiet and reflective. When I sew, I am centered and at peace with myself, after which I feel balanced and refueled.” “I find it slightly ironic that I stitch together life at the hospital and I also piece together fabric at home,” she surreptitiously admits.

A self-taught fiber artist, she has been actively creating for over 15 years. As a youth she practiced decorative sewing and appliqué work; which has expanded into the elaborate wall hangings she loosely refers to as quilts today. “If love was a blanket, I would wrap you in mine and you would never be cold”, she utters this phrase to sum up her sentiments about her work. This phrase was the inspiration for her first serious foray into quilt making: Nyuame Dua-The Wedding Quilt. Her philosophy of art and design is commensurate with her philosophy of life. “I seek to express genuinely and aesthetically what I feel both emotionally and spiritually.” Rico exhibits this style with her elaborate use of exotic fabrics such as East Indian raw silks, Chinese Satins, and French cut velvets; these are intermixed with hand sewn elements of South African water reeds, silver beads, and 100-year-old Chinese hand carved ornaments. “My works stem from the important currents and conflicts that run through my life at any given period. Thankfully I am able to draw from those abundant and substantive experiences.” “My work is born of a true affection for the spiritual aspects of people of color, both past and present, and of ethnic pride. Although I tend to concentrate on subjects and themes that celebrate the African experience in America, I hope my images cross cultures to serve as narrative fabrics that when pieced together tells the story of my life and serves to challenge the mind and elevate the spirit.”

Jade Rico Designs © 2009 All images and other content of this website is copyrighted. All rights reserved.
No portion of the website may be reproduced without the express written permission of Tracey Rico.