Our December Artist of the month goes to paper weaver Naomi J Kendall whose precise, geometric patterns resonate with colour and energy.
Naomi J Kendall
"Paper is surprisingly versatile and strong and comes in an endless variety of colours, weights and textures. It’s an every-day material which can be transformed in so many ways."
Where do you make your paper art?
I have a studio at home. My table is under the window so I get lots of natural light which is great because my work involves a lot of colour and precise cutting.
How long have you been working with paper?
I’ve been working primarily with paper for about 15 years but it was a material I used when I made sculptures at art school too many decades ago to mention!
How would you describe your approach to paper art?
I keep a sketchbook where I play with ideas for weaves and patterns and these are usually translated initially into white paper models or small colour tiles. My colour palettes are adjusted many times before I settle on the final edit and I sometimes make monochrome pieces with my own marks or patterns using inks and paints. My work is quite mathematical and all the different parts of a piece are carefully measured and hand cut. I try not to waste any materials and with any off-cuts of paper I make jewelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love going to museums to explore the collections, especially the textiles and ceramics, but I also find ideas in the structures of architecture and the colours and patterns that are all around us. I was inspired recently by someone on the train who was wearing a pair of woven shoes. The material itself is also inspiring, just playing with paper and seeing how far it can be pushed or manipulated.
Describe your work to us in three words:
Patterns, textures, geometry.
What are your favorite papers to work with?
I like to work with sturdy but flexible paper so something at least 120gsm. I also like to see the paper texture. I love GF Smith and Wigston papers but I also pick up sheets of paper here and there if I’m passing a nice art shop.
What tool could you not live without?
I use simple tools and I couldn’t live without a knife, a metal ruler and a propellor pencil. My favourite glue is a quick drying white glue. My best find was a pair of Fiskars spring action scissors which have made cutting completely pain free. My thumbs are very happy!
What is the best thing about working with paper as a medium?
Paper is surprisingly versatile and strong and comes in an endless variety of colours, weights and textures. It’s an every-day material which can be transformed in so many ways. It’s beautiful to handle, very soft and tactile, and when people see my work they definitely want to touch it. Along with the tools, paper is pretty portable which means I can carry a studio with me and work from anywhere.
Who are your favorite paper artists?
My very favourite is Irving Harper. His work is really whimsical and he created such a variety of forms. He was better known as a designer but he made things with paper for relaxation and ended up filling his home with over 300 pieces of paper art.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished a piece for an exhibition in the hospital where I live in Somerset in the UK. I’m also working on a postcard sized piece for a special exhibition and raffle to raise money for Art Refuge. My work will be shown alongside some amazing artists including Richard Deacon and Grayson Perry, which is pretty exciting!