Rachel Rosenkrantz

Gateways to Awareness explores the role of memory, perception and the five senses in our appreciation of art and the world around us. The artworks included in the exhibition engage the viewer in multi-sensory experiences across a variety of genres and media including disability, floral, olfactory, and sound art(s). This year-end show is a veritable tasting menu of the experimental and experiential forms of art the Museum is scheduled to present over the next two years.

Rachel Rosenkrantz

Rachel Rosenkrantz

Rachel Rosenkrantz is a French luthier and designer based in Providence, who handcrafts unique stringed instruments, combining the traditional and the new, exploring and inventing techniques while bringing a unique perspective to a traditional idiom with a strong focus on sustainability and, in particular, biomaterials.

Born and raised in Montfermeil, France, Rosenkrantz studied design at Met de Penninghen (Academie Julian) where she was exposed to both fine art and applied art. Her understanding of construction through her industrial design years in the innovation departments of major companies as well as her knowledge of music are two strong assets forming a stable backbone to her current art-making of string instruments.

Rosenkrantz’s work has been included in Phaidon’s “The Shape of Sound” by Ultan Guilfoyle, and has been exhibited in Paris at Le Carrousel du Louvre at the “European ways of Life”. She has presented a gallery talk at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for “Play it Loud”, and has been featured in Anthony Bourdain’s “Raw Craft” as well as Autodesk’s “My Design Mind”.

When not at her workbench, Rachel teaches Spatial Design at the Experimental and Foundation Studies division at the Rhode Island School of Design, and does research at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Guitar Innovation Lab.

Artist Statement

Creating music instruments in harmony with Nature through the use of biomaterials and biomimicry has been an integral part of my artistic practice for many years. However, the Pawtuxet project transcended the mere substitution of plastic with an organic substrate.

As a beekeeper, I have spent countless hours observing the remarkable behaviors of these industrious insects. Bees, with their innate ability to communicate through combs at a 309Hz frequency, have always captivated my imagination as that frequency is also found within the guitar range. Their harmonious society, built on intricate rhythms, offered a unique window into the world of sound and vibration. It was within this crossroads of my passion for beekeeping and my love for music that the Pawtuxet guitar project was born.

I began to discern the blueprints underlying the bees' combs and their behavior. This understanding allowed me to design a specific hive and guitar soundboard bracing that gently guided and encouraged my bees to create combs where I needed them for the instrument resonance, thus becoming co-creators in a harmonious partnership between nature and artistry.

The resulting combs, shaped by the bees' collective efforts, became an integral vital part of the instrument, diffusing organically the note, as an natural amplifier. Each note produced by this organic guitar resonated with the essence of the bees' hive, offering a harmonious reminder of the interconnected web of life, where their collective wisdom reverberates through our shared existence. The Pawtuxet guitar is an ode to profound connections within Nature.
Rosenkrantz Beehive Guitar

Rachel Rosenkrantz
309Hz, 2020
Honeycombs, cedar, spruce, bubinga, rosewood, mahogany, Nomex paper, bee's wax finish, and propolis