Cartotecnica Rossi - Paper Art

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Artists

Paper birds born by relationship with nature

I'm Aimee Baldwin.

I live in Berkeley, California, near San Francisco: my family has lived in California for over 120 years.

I have been making crafts ever since I was a little girl, because my mother was artistic and would always have me sewing, or painting, or doing crafts for activities as a child. I often used paper or fabric scraps.

I tried origami in class activities, and that is where I first bonded with paper. I grew up seeing Chinese joss paper goods: paper shoes and clothes, paper dim sum, paper money, paper appliances -- nearly anything you might want to send to your relatives in the afterlife. In junior-high school biology class (around age 13), the instructor had my class make tissue paper flowers, as a way of teaching anatomical structure: we made the pistil, stamen, petals and leaves out of tissue paper. I experimented with paper as a medium continually, including paper mache masks and paper insects.

 

Around 1998 I began making naturalistic exact species paper birds. Around this time, an acquaintance opened a boutique craft and stationery store. The shop began to carry the high-quality crepe paper I use now, and she asked me to make a variety of flowers and craft samples as a display for the uses of the crepe paper (which was a relatively forgotten craft medium in the United States at that time). I made an abundance of paper flowers as decorations, and from there moved on to scientific depiction.

Infact, despite living in a densely urban area, I’ve always felt a connection between nature and my every-day life. I considered becoming a professional naturalist, but could not give up being an artist. Making birds and plants is a way for me to spend a lot of time in nature, and still do my art.

I have developed an interest in how people view nature and wish to incorporate this into my art. Natural history and taxidermy provide a viewpoint of how humans relate to nature, and the changes in our understanding, perceptions, and relationship with nature over time. However, my own painstaking labor of transforming everyday materials into “specimens” becomes the rarity offered in my work.

 

A lot of my current work of birds and botanicals is possible because of the shop who encouraged my crafts. It has been a great place to meet and become a part of a supportive community of artists and DIY crafters, who encourage creativity in eachother.

I have taught crepe-paper flower making classes with a friend at the shop for many years. Although I no longer teach classes there, I have several friends who still teach crepe paper flowers there.

I have made window displays of dresses, birds, and flowers using the crepe paper. I have also had art shows of my "taxidermy" and botanical arts at the store. https://castleintheair.biz/shoppe/Default.aspx

 

I remember a good satisfaction I had from paperart: I was invited to participate in an art show that celebrated successful preservation of endangered species. Each artist was allowed to select a species of plant or animal that was previously on the endangered species list, but which has done so well that it is no longer so close to extinction. I chose to make a peregrine falcon, because it is not only doing well enough to no longer be endangered, but it manages to thrive in urban areas, which is unusual for wild animals. My art piece is a maybe gruesome, but it shows how the Peregrine Falcon has adapted to survive in cities.

It was wonderful to be a part of a show which demonstrates how people can make a difference in saving plant and animal species if we really put effort into it. I hope the art show inspired people to keep up hope and keep working towards improving our relationship with the environment.

 

I love paperart, but I do not earn my living from my paper sculpture. My professional job is a sculptor helping to make large monument sculpture, and very elaborate Halloween costumes.


For future? I am currently doing an artist residency for the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA, and I will have a solo show of crepe paper botanical art next year June 28 - July 24, 2016. I visited the botanic garden for a week in September, and now I am making many botanical art pieces based the plants I saw during my visit. Will you visit the exposition in July?