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Ellen Mears Kennedy
Each one-of-a-kind art work is assembled from hundreds of pieces of hand-made pieces of PAPER, created by the artist from abaca and recycled cotton rag. Handmade paper is pigmented, double-sided, folded and attached to a linen backing. Artwork has a different design depending on being viewed from left or from right.
My work is focused on themes that discuss the balance of nature and how nature touches our souls. I cut paper with scissors because to me the material and the production process reflects the delicacy and also the fragility of nature. The process of scissors cutting (Scherenschnitt) is like woodcutting or sculpting, in that you start with a blank resource and create the art by cutting parts of it away. All of my cuttings are cut out of a single sheet of paper; that means that the remaining design is still one piece of paper. I am able to cut lines that are no thicker than a thread. This allows smallest details that help to construct pictures within pictures. The final art piece is glued onto white paper. I glue the paper only at selected places. This adds depth because the unglued parts are not flush with the matting board. I use these subtle depths differences also to guide the eye of the viewer over the artwork and have the image cast shadows.
I make very realistic looking insects using various types of archival grade paper. I use sumi and drawing ink to draw each image which I then cut out, shape and mount. I get a great deal of artistic satisfaction from hearing my work has given someone a whole new appreciation for the beauty in the insect world. People often think my paper insects are the real thing!
I began my career in book restoration, and now use my knowledge of historical book and enclosure forms to create various types of albums, journals, and boxes. The Coptic style journals are based on early 2nd century books, the Longstich journals on a 16th Century Italian model and the new little travel journals were inspired by 15th Century girdle books which were easily portable. I use paper and cloth from around the world, in addition to making my own painted and paste papers.