Interview with Paper Meditations
Our latest interview features Christine Kirk from Paper Meditations! Christine is a wife, mom, musician, and paper sculptor, who has been creating paper artwork for over 20 years. With a professional artistic background in graphic design, Christine was inspired to use her skills to create pieces for her own home. With encouragement from those around her, this talent quickly made its way from her home, to galleries, street fairs, and social media.
We at PrintWorks have been truly amazed to see what Christine has created with our paper.
Read on for more DIY projects, crafting resources and inspiration from Christine!
“…the idea that something as ordinary and accessible to everyone as paper can become a unique and extraordinary piece of art.”
Tell me a little about yourself.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 35 years. We both grew up in New Jersey and worked in New York City. When our family grew and our careers took new paths, we moved to beautiful south central Pennsylvania where we have lived for over 20 years. We have three adult children and are looking forward to becoming grandparents for the first time in November.
Ever since I was handed a pair of scissors as a child, I have loved creating things with paper! I recall cutting and gluing construction paper and always having a mess of clippings to clean up. (Some things never change!) As my interest in art grew through my school years, so did my hope to make it into a career. With that in mind, I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and earned a degree in graphic design. Soon after graduating, I landed a full-time position at Family Circle Magazine where I applied my skills for the next few years. Following that, I continued to do freelance work designing items including pamphlets, newsletters, advertisements, book covers and even credit cards to name a few.
I happily left the profession to raise my three kids, but I always knew that I would pursue something artistic for myself when I could devote significant time to it. I began that endeavor, focusing on paper sculptures more than 20 years ago.
Other than creating art, I really enjoy playing the flute and piccolo. It is especially fun to perform in local community bands and for theater productions alongside my husband, a trumpet player.
Organic Alliance (13 x 13 x 1”)
Geofacets (25 x 25 x 1”) –
designed using only uncut white sheets of paper.
How did you begin creating sculptures with paper?
I was looking for a way to decorate the walls of my home on a budget. With my artistic background, I was confident I could make my own artwork. The idea of creating a unique piece of art from something ordinary like paper really intrigued me, so I started to play around with folding sheets of computer paper. I made my first collection of pieces out of full sheets of white paper that were folded, taped and glued into patterns. After a few months, I had more than enough pieces to decorate my house. With the encouragement of family and friends, I started showing my paper sculptures in galleries and art fairs. Paper Meditations grew from there.
What is Paper Meditations all about?
There are two concepts that are important to me when I think about my work.
As I mentioned earlier, the idea that something as ordinary and accessible to everyone as paper can become a unique and extraordinary piece of art.
The other has to do with why I chose the word “meditations” for this art form. All my pieces begin with my own meditation and end with my audience’s meditation. As I am creating and experimenting with paper, I am meditating on what I see and what I think will work for the piece. It is a very intuitive and focused process. I hope that my audience will also meditate on what I have created. They can wonder how it was made and feel inspired by seeing something they are familiar with transformed into something they have never seen before.
Where do you get the inspiration to create your paper sculptures?
My inspiration comes from the meditative part of my process. Playing with the paper inspires me! I don’t try to “make a flower” or represent any particular thing. Instead, there will be a moment in the process when I have created something that intrigues me and I will want to focus on it. I don’t know where it will lead but I just feel the excitement build as I get closer to a final piece. There are so many creative ways to manipulate paper. I may start with a square, rectangle or a strip of paper. I might layer sheets of paper and fold or cut them. I bend, tape and glue. I find the possibilities are endless. The interesting and unique forms, shapes, shadows and patterns that emerge from this process inspire a final piece.
Another source of inspiration comes from looking at the work of fellow artists, especially other paper artists on Instagram. I can ask them questions too and learn from their experiences, which is an added benefit.
Tri-Tone Burst (25 x 25 x 3”), First Place 3-D category, Open Door Exhibition Lancaster County Art Association 2019
Golden Facets (17x 21 x 3”), 2nd Place, Non-Professional Spring Membership Exhibition, Lancaster County Art Association, May 2019
What has been your most challenging design? Or the most rewarding sculpture made?
One of my earliest pieces, Chrysanthemum, sounds like it should be simple to make — but it’s not. Sixteen sheets of paper are folded identically with extreme precision and then are glued together in a circular pattern. The folding and gluing must be done precisely and in a specific order, or the final outcome won’t fit in a perfect circle. Placing the glue neatly in the correct place is also challenging. Everything about putting this together is complex and even with my notes and samples of the folded modules, it is not easy to recreate. I love the idea that it is made with just a few sheets of folded paper, and it remains one of my all-time favorite pieces.
Chrysanthemum (24 x 34 x 3″)
How do you organize your time, so you have time to make your paper sculptures?
Thankfully I have free time to devote to my artwork but, believe it or not, being an artist isn’t all fun and games and I find that I am prone to procrastination. Since I am a morning person, one trick I use to fight putting things off is to go into my studio (in my home) early in the day and get something done. Even if I only spend a few minutes cleaning up or organizing I typically will get inspired by something and spend about an hour on it in the morning and then another two hours in the afternoon.
Cosmic Waves (16 x 16 x 3”)
Any advice for anyone interested in learning how to make paper sculptures?
Get your tools and go! Don’t think about what you want to make, but let the paper guide you. This is how I work. When I see an interesting shape that I have created from a folded or bent piece of paper, I let that be a starting point to build upon. Experiment, explore, and go with and trust your instincts.
A wonderful thing about using paper as a medium is that you don’t need special skills to make sculptures. You learned them all in kindergarten! All you need is your scissors, glue and tape to get started then let your creativity flow! For more fun and inspiration watch my TikTok videos @PaperMeditations. You can see tips, tricks, tools and a behind the scenes look at my studio.
Inner Light (12 x 12 x 1″)
What other projects/endeavors are you working on?
I look forward to continuing to experiment with the beautiful color paper collections from Printworks and share the results on Instagram of course! I hope this includes making some holiday décor soon, too.
Look for my first free tutorial on the Paper Meditations YouTube Channel. This is a new endeavor and I am in the learning stage but I hope to add more instructional videos in the near future.
“Dream Star” tutorial.
“Show Stopper” gift topper. Christine shares more free tutorials like this on her YouTube channel.
Paper Meditations pieces and a tutorial of one of my original designs are for sale from my Etsy shop. Visit my website, www.PaperMeditations.com, to view my gallery, see pricing and learn more about me and my artwork. You can send me an email at PaperMeditations@gmail.com to discuss anything you would like to order or if you have a specific request.
Many of my pieces are in shops and venues around my hometown of York, PA as well as in the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Store in downtown Lancaster, PA so check them out if you are local.
See all my links here.
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