Kathy Cornell of Schoharie is the artist behind Papier Moon Primitives, creating figurines from her own recipe of papier-mache. She's always been an artistic person, art class being her favorite subject in school. She enjoys knitting, sewing, basket and seat weaving, oil and acrylic painting, gourd art, and making teddy bears.
"I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't making something." -- Kathy Cornell
She became interested in papier-mache when a little over ten years ago she was browsing through a magazine and came upon a Santa figurine. She started using a product called celluclay (instant papier-mache), but started experimenting with it about seven years ago when she mixed in sawdust from her husband's sawmill and wood glue. She found that the mixture provided faster drying, less shrinkage, and a stronger sculpture.
Kathy also does not like to waste, as she uses cleaned recycled items as the base for sculpting around. Some of the items she recycles are bottles (glass and plastic), carboard tubes, wire, and even aluminum foil. Kathy always sculpts one layer at a time, letting each coat dry in between. This process is expanded over several days, but once it is dry, she will paint, varnish, and stain the item to give it that folksy antique look. She also likes to make her sculptures still useful so that they won't just sit on the shelf collecting dust.
"A lot of my sculptures heads twist off or have a little pocket or opening to reveal a container." -- Kathy Cornell
Sometimes she will find inspiration for making a sculpture just by looking at the shape of something. She might see an angel or snowman in just the shape of a bottle! However, she also finds that she might start painting one idea and decide to start over and paint something entirely different.
"Sometimes I will start creating an Uncle Sam and then half way through, decide it would make a better Santa." -- Kathy Cornell
Kathy started selling on Etsy when she saw how much fun she could have. A friend had told her about the site and she first opened it in April of 2010. The name of the shop comes from the way her sculptures look and the fact that they're made from papier-mache. She likes to think of her art as having a "primitive whimsy" style to them. She also sells her items at craft shows and in stores like Desolation Road Studios located in Altamont, NY, Reasons to Believe in Seattle, WA, and Kindreds Antique and Folk Art in Cape Cod, MA.
When Kathy isn't sculpting a Humpty Dumpty, sheep, or flowers, you might find her cooking or gardening, taking a walk with her Golden Retriever, or spending time with her family. She claims there are just not enough hours in the day to enjoy life as much as she does!
Don't forget to check out the slideshow at the top of left of the article featuring some of the products Papier Moon Primitives has featured!
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