Arctic Volume White: 130gsm
Munken Lynx: 130gsm
The Road Goes Ever On, and On
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Rebecca Loechler, and I am a self taught artist and illustrator living in Boston MA, USA. Investing time in art is an essential outlet and self-therapeutic technique for me. The type of design work I create is calming and meditative. It requires patience, focus, and precision. I primarily create detailed design work, mostly creating free form/freehand designs. I hope to share intricacy, strength, and connection through my work. In addition to my own artwork, I work as one of the lead teachers in an after school program, and I develop and instruct arts & tech programming for both children and adults out of a local Maker space.
I grew up with a love of, and affinity for, art and creativity, but art remained only a hobby during my childhood and early adolescence. It wasn’t until debilitating chronic health problems arose when I was 15 that art became my primary focus. I began honing my design technique and style during the time I spent out of high school, and started exploring paper cutting art and illustration after my health problems prevented me from attending college.
Tell us a little bit about your interpretation of Paper Passion?
When thinking about paper passions, I decided to go right to the source. I live with chronic illness. I have been sick for over ten years, with symptoms ranging from extended periods of intense headaches, body exhaustion, fevers, extreme motion sickness, brain fog, and more. When I was first diagnosed at age 15, I had to dropout of high school for a year. I was very limited physically during that time, and the two main things I could do detract myself from the constant pain I was in was to draw, and watch movies. This was before the age of Netflix and having every television show and movie at my fingertips, so I was limited to crappy daytime television, or DVDs my family had on hand. For christmas the year before, I had received The Lord of the Rings extended trilogy. This disk set came with not just the movies, but also countless hours of extended features. I had loved the movies for years, but the behind the scenes content was new to me. I was entranced by how these insanely talented artists and craftspeople came together to bring to life an entire universe. I would watch it over and over again, even if it was only playing in the background as familiar noise when I was in to much pain to look at the screen. The team who worked on the movie delved fully into territory that had never been explored before. They were constantly problem solving: if a program that didn't exist was needed to make a scene work, they invented the program themselves. In the watching and rewatching of both the movies, and the making of features, I absorbed that the only limits that exist are the ones we put on ourselves. That every discipline has its place. That the more I know, the more and better I can create. That where there is a will to create something, there is always a way. It gave me comfort, distraction, imagination, and inspiration during some of my darkest and most painful moments.
When I was 19, a new symptom of my illness arose. I began having tremors in my hands. Suddenly, I could no longer execute the detailed and symmetrical art I had previously been creating because my hands were shaking too much. But I had a will, and knew there must be a way. With lots of experimentation, I found that the pressure exerted on a knife during the paper cutting process was enough to steady my hand. I could draw a rough first draft, then do a second (more precise) pass at the piece with a knife. I fell in love, and that passion led me here, to this very moment and this very project.
When I was trying to decide how best to approach this prompt, my partner suggested that I create a Lord of the Rings themed paper cut, to pay homage to a guiding force in my creative evolution.The idea was perfect, and I am so pleased to present my passion for paper cutting, layered illustration, and watercolor painting as an image of the Shire from The Lord of the Rings through a hobbit door.
Tell us a little about your piece?
My piece is a 17 layer illustrative paper cut. Each layer was hand drawn, hand cut using Excel brand blades and knives, and carefully painted using watercolors. So why, out of all of the amazing imagery in The Lord of the Rings, did I choose to depict the view through a hobbit door? Much like Frodo when Bilbo left him the one ring, I stumble into my own unforeseen journey when I was diagnosed with my illness. A journey I didn't ask for, but a journey I had no choice but to take. I have had lots of help along the way, people without whom I would have never made it to the point I am at now. But sometimes I still feel like I’m stuck looking out a door at a winding road that disappears off in the distance; I don't know where it leads, but I know I must follow if I can. I feel a closeness with the comfort of The Shire, as well as an excitement for the adventure that lies beyond that comfort.
I like to say that my life is never what I expected it to be, but I love it. We each have to find a willingness to accept and let go of a life we planned to make room for the life that’s waiting for us. The path that leads there is not always the cleanest or most well kept, and sometimes the terrain makes for a struggled journey. But it’s always worth it. The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far away the road has gone and I must follow, if I can.
What was the most challenging part of the brief?
The most challenging part of the brief was how broad it was. Having an open ended prompt is both wonderfully freeing, and extremely overwhelming. Everything is possible, but that is exactly the problem-everything is possible. And everything is a lot.
What part of the brief did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed the freedom to create something in my own vision. Sometimes prompts are so specific that it's difficult to feel free artistically. I also loved that it wasn't just about paper cutting, other disciplines and passions could be included. It was about paper in its purest form-as a vessel for self expression and communication..
How did you enjoy working with Munken and Arctic Volume?
I really enjoyed working with both papers, but was particularly drawn to the uncoated one. While not specifically made for watercolor, it held the paint in a very interesting and unique way, and didn't disintigrate or warp the paper too much, even with the tiny detail cuts. I definitely look forward to using it in future projects!!