Monday, September 29, 2014

Paper Bird Sculptures at Longwood Gardens

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Longwood Gardens, just up the road in nearby Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Not only was the weather fantastic - summer's last gasp - but I'd been looking forward to seeing Diana Beltran Herrera's paper birds that are on permanent display in the newly restored Webb Farmhouse & Galleries.

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Diana was commissioned by Longwood and Gecko Group to create six sculptured representations that live in the meadow habitat where the farmhouse is located.

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Golden painted edging glistens on the goldfinch's feathers.

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Many people stopped to look at the life-size birds, but I have a feeling casual observers didn't realize they are actually made of paper... the painted feathers, sharp beaks, and clawed feet are so realistic one might think he/she is looking at taxidermy specimens, although the paper sculptures are labeled as such at the bottom of the case.

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Not only are Diana's birds superb, but so are the photographs of each one that she posts on her website. Her ability to transform bits of painted and fringed Canson paper into three dimensional, life-like creations has been featured widely online. To give you an idea of the time Diana spends on each bird, a feature on Smithsonian mentions that the construction of a cardinal "might translate to just over six sheets of paper and five days of labor."

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

"An eagle or a crane, on the other hand, means 10 to 15 sheets of paper and up to two weeks of time. She observes some of the species in the wild, studies photographs of birds, and confers with ornithologists and birding groups to ensure an impressive level of visual accuracy."

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Diana builds an armature of paper strips, then covers it with feathers that she paints with watercolor inks.

Paper sculpture birds by Diana Beltran Herrera

Diana, a native of Colombia, is currently studying for a Master's degree in Fine Arts at UWE (University of the West of England) in Bristol and works on paper sculpture in her spare time. Since June, she has enlisted the help of Facebook fans to send her bird postage stamps from various countries. She is referencing the images to create bird and flower sculptures for an exhibit that will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia at the end of November. Stay up-to-date with Diana's latest work and exhibits via her website or Facebook

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pulp Culture: Paper is the Medium

I'm looking forward to visiting the Morris Museum to see the newly opened exhibit, Pulp Culture: Paper is the Medium, where three of my quilled necklaces are on display through December 7. Since many of you are far from New Jersey and won't be able to attend, perhaps you'd like to see them.

Quilled Necklace - Ring of Keys - Ann Martin

After a friend sent me some vibrant crepe paper that rolls beautifully, I was inspired to create a jazzy, wearable set of keys. It's a play on the rather staid Ring of Keys framed piece I made several years ago that was inspired by an antique Victrola key. Sometimes I make single key pendants... you'll find step-by-step instructions on how to make one of your own in the All Things Paper book.

Quilled Pendant - Silver Teardrop Orb - Ann Martin

The exhibit curator also chose this design; I call it Silver Teardrop Orb. You can learn to make it too, via the same book.

Quilled Pendant - Leaves and Loops - Ann Martin

The third pendant is this golden Leaves and Loops pendant.

I sent quilled shape samples and pieces of metallic crepe paper along with the jewelry to the museum as there are stations set up where visitors can handle different types of paper used to create the exhibit art pieces - such a nice idea. Morris will be hosting workshops for children during the show - there is a paper making class this Saturday, a tour for very young children in October, and paper collage and pop-up book classes in November.

Quilled Shapes - Samples  
A local newspaper reporter recently did an article about my work in conjunction with the opening that you can read here. The photographer took this picture of a poinsettia ornament that he suspended on a bottle lantern that happened to be on the table... I think it's a pretty cool impromptu photo!

Quilled Poinsettia Ornament
Photo: Kyle Grantham for The News Journal

I can't wait to explore the work of the nearly fifty contemporary paper artists who are included in the exhibit. Hopefully I'll be able to share some photos with you in an upcoming post.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Handmade Greeting Cards with Flair

I went in search of unusual handmade greetings cards on Etsy and found three shops that feature special ones you won't find anywhere else. First up, Art Papier, which showcases the clever work of French artist Daniel Mar.


He cuts and sculpts white paper "to build a fragile world", then photographs the scene and transforms it into cards and posters. Some examples are whimsical and lively, while others are serene. 


A feature I especially like is that the cards come with an easel and cardboard support so they can be displayed as small works of art.


Visit Daniel's website to view a video of his process. He is also on Facebook.

Starfly Creations features stylish cut paper cards designed by Starla Apodaca of Texas.


She holds a BFA in graphic design and says about her work, "knowledge and love of design combined with digital and presentation experience has enabled me to develop a style of using both positive and negative space to create unique cut paper designs."


Each card is modern and fresh with the bonus of personalization.


Pop Up Card Making of Seattle invites you to try your hand at the Japanese cutting and folding technique of kirigami. 


Step-by-step photo instructions are available in PDF format as an instant download so you can start creating immediately. Print out the pattern on sturdy paper, fold, cut, and assemble. 


I know a couple of little guys who would enjoy receiving a bobble-head dinosaur or pop-up black widow spider and I'm certain these koalas would bring about a smile as well.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Assembli DIY - Folded Paper Animals

I came across Assembli DIY via an Etsy email and knew immediately I would feature the fun paper animals that Joop Bource, a product and set designer in Breda, Netherlands, creates. Because who wouldn't love this face?!

Longtime readers will remember how fond I am of paper crafting kits, and Joop's wall trophies seem like they would make for enjoyable crafting sessions. I'm picturing a colorful lineup as playroom or nursery decor.


A purchaser's review mentions that putting together the hippo is just like assembling an IKEA flat pack. So there you go... the animals are completely doable once you make up your mind to get started.


The giraffe is the newest member of the menagerie. Kits are shipped in cardboard tubes along with appropriate adhesive and a burnishing stick to sharply crease the folds.

Folded Paper Rhino Kit

If you prefer immediate gratification, make a batch of pretty paper crystals. They're available as downloadable templates.


In addition, Joop has created templates for a folded airplane and boat, and previously, this cool/creepy skull. He mentioned to me that he's considering a new, downloadable skull, and be on the lookout for a simple Christmas tree template and a larger tree kit coming this autumn.


As usual, this is not a sponsored post - I just liked what I saw when I visited Assembli DIY, which is also on Facebook.

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