Recently we received a surprise in the mail from one of our online customers! She sent us a fabulous Thank You card using the packing materials and little snack packs that we send out with our packages. She also included some examples of her work for us to see what she does with paper! This was much appreciated and truly inspiring, so we asked her if we could feature them on our blog! Below you’ll see the cards she sent, as well as a wonderful write up about her.
My name is Eileen Fitzpatrick, I’m an “almost 40” disabled artist living in Calgary, Alberta. About ten years ago I experienced some major changes in my health and began losing my vision. My background is in community-based social work, primarily with seniors and people with disabilities. I try to encourage my clients and my colleagues to use creative methods in their work and therapies. Art has always been an outlet for me in dealing with challenges, and as my circumstances have changed, my interest in paper arts with Japanese paper has evolved.
Several members of my family are quilting enthusiasts, and I’ve always appreciated quilting designs, particularly crazy quilts and squares. Though I am unable to thread a sewing machine, I can wield a mean glue stick! After my brother fell in love and married a Japanese girl, I fell in love with Japanese paper and married my interests in quilting and paper together in my hobby.
What I find most beautiful about Japanese paper is that the natural dyes, fibres, and textures of the raw materials are not over-processed and disguised. In my mind, it’s the embodiment of a philosophy: the nature of the ingredients are embraced and made part of the expression; the flaws become part of that beauty. That’s an attitude that would greatly improve the world, if we could all embrace our flaws and what they contribute to the texture of our lives.
It feels funny trying to describe what I do, I laugh when I think about it – I use what colours I think look good together (despite the fact that I’m partly colour blind); simplicity and clean lines appeal to me (though often my lines are not straight because my eyes have trouble with that). I have no extensive formal training in art or design and no pre-conceived notions of what is popular or marketable. The work is its own therapy, and the results reflect my personality and my abilities.
I love the smell of the different papers, the feel of the textures, the vibrant colours, the range of designs. Often I combine some of the richer, more intricate designs with very uncomplicated naturally dyed papers and highlight them with wool, jute, ribbon, buttons and found objects. Each project is an attempt at fusion and I literally don’t know where I’m going when I start. It’s true, “Art enables us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves, at the same time.” – Thomas Merton.