Wallpaper* talks to paper artist Zoe Bradley about her work, her inspiration and how she avoids the inevitable paper cuts.
W*: How did you come up with the concept for the Wallpaper* shoot? (featured in our December issue, W*117)
ZB: I worked closely with Lacey (the photographer) on this concept. The pleats have become my signature textile, but we wanted to push the boundaries of space using the pleats in a more abstract way and incorporating light to make the texture look like it's suspended in space.
How long did it take to construct? Can you describe the process briefly? How many people were involved?
We had three days preparation. The pleats are folded by hand which is a very time-consuming process. It took three people.
Your creations are incredibly intricate. How much of the work is done by hand? What role, if any, does technology play?
My work is very intricate and there is a lot of attention to detail. I am a bit of a perfectionist! The sculptures are created mostly by hand as I prefer the hand crafted look. However with larger installations we have to use technology, i.e. die cutting when we are dealing with large scale.
Which has been your favourite project to date + why?
Boodles. We created six bespoke paper dresses for the Boodles jewellery campaign just gone [see a spread from the campaign in our gallery]. The pieces took a whole army to produce due to the intricate nature of the details, but it was amazing to see the result, the finished dresses when fitted to the model.
You create a lot of work for overseas locations (e.g. the NYC Christmas installations) - what are the logistics involved in transporting delicate folded paper installations across the world and re-creating them on-site? Do you always fly to the locations?
As my work is now travelling more worldwide we rely on the delicate sculptures being packed in enormous bespoke boxes that are packed full with soft packaging. The studio turns into a circus of packaging a few days before shipping takes place. The goods then are in the hands of the shipping agents and we follow in tandem to meet them half way across the world to supervise unpacking. This is always a nervous moment as the sculptures are unpacked!
What would be your dream project, assuming an unlimited budget?
A paper fashion show in the Guggenheim.
From where do you source your paper?
From Paris to Tokyo.
Is there a particular artist or designer right now who inspires you especially?
Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry - they have created some of the most inspiring silhouettes in architecture.
What are you currently working on?
Tiffany's 5th Avenue flagship store in New York for Christmas 2008.
Any tips for avoiding paper cuts?
Surgical gloves!