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Carol Ann Rice Rafferty

Carol Ann Rice Rafferty

b. 1956

Carol Ann Rice Rafferty is a multi-media artist who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She moved with her husband and children to Western New York in 1998.

Rice Rafferty's art is an expression of her life experiences as a daughter, a wife, and a mother. As her children grow and move out of her home, Rice Rafferty is also exploring the ways relationships and people change over time. "Letting go is as much a part of life as gathering,” she notes. “The loss of precious relationships, watching my beauty and youth diminish, grieving the death of my parents, and choosing the best medical treatment for myself when confronted with breast cancer are all preparing me for the inevitable future of facing my own mortality."

In her works, Rice Rafferty explores natural forms to express personal meaning and symbolism: "Of particular fascination to me is the pinecone form. The dry, hard pinecone remains of what was once a fertile green womb is a metaphor for openness, fertility, strength of character, silence, and solitude. The spiral pattern on the top of a pinecone is a symbol of creative energy forces. Similar to a pinecone that opens to release seeds when exposed to the heat of wild fires, my artwork is propagated from events in my life when I was tried by adversity. Joyous as well as painful experiences breathe life into my artwork."

Rice Rafferty works in a variety of untraditional mediums, often coaxing them to express her creative desires. "Process is important to me,” she writes. “I need to be involved in the making of my art materials. Hand dyeing, stitching, and assemblage of the forms allow me to feel connected to my work. The materials I select are modest and ubiquitous such as abaca paper, beeswax, steel wire, cotton muslin, used coffee filters, and sometimes I have even included my own hair in the work. I see paper and fabrics as interchangeable materials."

Rice Rafferty received an Associate degree in liberal arts from the Community College of Alleghany County in Pittsburgh, Penn., and a Bachelor of Science in design, with a concentration in Fibers, from Buffalo State College. She also attended the Savannah College of Art & Design, participating in graduate courses in the fiber program. She has worked as an adjunct instructor in the fiber design program at Buffalo State College and served as an after-school program instructor at Gloria J. Parks Center in Buffalo, where she taught art, cooking, and gardening to children. 

Since 2010, Rice Rafferty has been working full-time as an artist, collaborating with her daughter, Kara Rice Rafferty, to create what they describe as "one-of-a-kind wearable art accessories with a nouveau antique sensibility.”

In 2013, Rice Rafferty served as a juror for the International Textile and Apparel Association. [1]

For more information on the artist's work, visit


[1] Quotations and biographical information adapted from an undated artist's statement by Carol Ann Rice Rafferty.