Spotlight Friday – Kristen Law Lewis
Two Hands Paperie has recently made a very happy addition to our staff; Kristen Law Lewis of Papercuts Press. Kristen has been a friend and instructor of bookbinding at the shop for many years. However, after an interview with her, we found her interests and talents reach far beyond bookbinding and expand into other artistic endeavors, such as assemblage art, installation, and most recently, e-textile technology.
Two Hands Paperie: In your upcoming Visiting Artist event, you’ll talk more about the sewable lights in your bookbinding, but can you introduce us to them?
Kristen Law Lewis: I have very recently been using e-textile technology in my artwork, incorporating sewable electronics, and LED lights into books. These unique materials have really challenged me to learn something new. The electrical components are exciting, because they are very user-friendly (even for someone non-versed in electronics) and they really are versatile – mostly due to their small size, and the fact that conductive thread is sewn (as opposed to wire that is soldered).
I’ll have these components available for show-and-tell at the FREE Spotlight Friday event on Friday, October 3rd from 2-4:00pm at Two Hands Paperie. I also put them to use in the upcoming Light It Up! Carousel Book Class. Many of these electronic-bits-for-creativity are now for sale at Two Hands Paperie, including various parts and kits so you can give it a try for yourself! There’s an article about the local Boulder gal who invented the Lilypad technology.
THP: You’ve been working on window installations at Two Hands Paperie. What installations have you experienced that were particularly memorable? Why do you like installation pieces?
KLL: I have always been enamored with installation art as a genre, ever since I learned it was a “thing.” I think the base of my interest ties to the awe I often feel in nature, and usually that experience is bigger than the human scale. These are the most poignant type of moments for me and sculptural installation does a good job of evoking and creating that. I’m a bit of an introvert, so erasing all exterior worldly elements by distilling focus to one space is attractive to me. Installation art also requires a bigger commitment than other mediums, mostly in terms of space. So I am additionally impressed by the artists who work in this way. Some current artists whose installation work has impressed me recently are: Victor Frankowski, Anila Quayyum Agha, Nobutaka Aozaki, Fesson Ludovic, Shelly Miller, Dianele Papuli, Vincent Mauger, and Mark Garry.
Window design, and visual merchandising is my “shop girl’s” version of exercising creativity in a 3-dimensional way. I have always enjoyed designing displays, and fabricating the designs. I definitely gain satisfaction from swinging a hammer! Display marketing, design, and building are jobs I really do enjoy. Two Hands is a wonderful place to exercise that creativity, to translate the mission of the shop into something visually interesting. Plus, the medium is mostly paper which personally, is the ultimate material to work with!
THP: A little bird told me you worked a wasps’ nest into a bookbinding project! Can you explain a little about that unique creation?
KLL: The paper-wasp nest book was an interesting intersection between the assemblage sculpture I make and bookbinding. I have always been compelled to collect unusual items, from nature or elsewhere, and incorporate them into my artwork. By featuring a “found” element in a piece, a spotlight is illuminated on something that might otherwise go unnoticed, evoking contemplation and appreciation for the object. The artistic process is different when using something you only have one of – you really can’t mess up! This finite reality gives way to the notion of “precious” materials, and what makes them so. The combination of these found “gems” with natural elements can be found in many of my pieces – a direct reference to preciousness.
My artistic challenge with the paper-wasp nest book was to make use of an extraordinarily large and flat wasp nest, which required particular attention to execution – both in preparing the nest to be a book cover, and also with the actual binding. It was satisfying to complete! Hopefully there are more wasp nest books in my future.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I’m collaborating with the exceptionally-skilled paper artist Lynda Leimkuhler, making a firefly book with intricate paper cutouts and flashing firefly lights – very beautiful!
If you are interested in learning more about this creative lady stop by the FREE Spotlight Friday Visiting Artist Event on Friday, October 3rd, 2-4:00pm or sign up for her Light It Up! Carousal Book on Saturday, October 11th and learn how to incorporate sewable lights into a carousal book.