Mandi Smethells loves rainbows. It’s a love that’s apparent the moment you land on her popular Instagram page. The Saint Paul, Minn. based artist has always been fascinated with color, even prior to discovering her “obsession” for fiber art.

We asked Mandi to go a little deeper into the inspiration for her colorful work. Here are three reasons she loves the “joyous” symbol of the rainbow:


“Rainbows provide a perfect form to experiment with color theory. Color is the primary driving force behind my artwork, and I see most forms I work with as mediums for playing with color.”

Multiple Meanings

“While the colors, shape and size of a rainbow might change in my work, so can the meaning for the viewer. The ‘symbol’ of the rainbow has an emotional weight for so many, whether a symbol of joy, religion, personal expression, sexuality, pregnancy loss, weather phenomena… It can represent something very personal. It’s so powerful, and I appreciate that very much.”

Symbol of Joy

“Rainbows are a symbol of joy for so many, especially children. I work alone in a home studio, and my daily critiques are done with my seven year old. What can I say? Rainbows get a positive reaction from my critic. They are very personal in that way to me: they are a large part of my identity as a mother and my relationship with my two young daughters.”

Minnesota Music: Francy Mae Clark, Rory Donnely, Annie Fitzgerald
Production Team: Amy Melin, Brennan Vance
This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.


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