Jenn Dodd has a love affair with paper. Her devotion can be found in the painstaking intricacies of her work and the lace like patterns she finds like a sculptor finding a figure in the stone. When asked to characterize her work, this artist had a most eloquent answer. "Simple. Handmade. Warm. Maybe a little funny and weird. I have a love affair with paper," Jenn explains. "I want to go back to the days where people sent hand written notes to each other through the mail instead of throwing a thumbs up on a mass Happy Birthday post. I think a tangible object with the evidence of hand that shows effort and thought and time shows you care in a way that technology will never convey. It's a little out there, but I really do think that paper fortifies connections. That thought translates to my maps as well. We are all connected. Like streets. Like fibers in paper. That's the designer in me talking."
We couldn't agree more and the voting public put a stamp of approval on it. Jenn Dodd walked away from the First Annual Woodbury Fall Arts Fest as one of only three artists awarded Best In Show as voted on by a very discerning crowd. Amongst her repertoire of work is a collection of custom hand cut maps that will stop you in your tracks. Fine, delicate cuts of streets and waterways make for almost abstract movements in the paper.
But where does one start cutting paper in their spare time and turning it into a thriving business and passion? Well, Jenn comes from a rather artistic family in upstate New York with "childhood memories of little blue pencils, salt on watercolors, and paintings on found pieces of wood." Equipped with an education from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and a found love of graphic design, this budding artist developed her own expression in paper only recently with her online shop Paperchoke. "I have been a maker all my life, but I really started working on my Etsy shop after my father passed away last year. It was a very dark time for me and I knew if I didn't DO something I would continue down a bad path. I needed to laugh. I needed to create in the midst of crazy loss. So... I started drawing and thinking up puns. When someone reads one of my cards and smiles or laughs, it really, truly makes my day." According to Jenn she also started papercutting around that same time. Jenn explains, "I had always been into maps and traveling and I know how people can connect to places, so I started cutting out blocks of their favorite cities until all that was left were streets and rivers. They were a huge hit and I started getting orders soon after that. It's funny how life kind of steers you into things you never thought you would do!"
Congratulations Jenn Dodd and we'll see you at the FAF 2013!