Piece of Craft: Crafter Profile: Lee Gainer

My friends like to send me pictures of various craft projects that they want me to attempt next all the time or that they’d like me to talk about on Piece of Craft. Recently, I was shown a photo on Pinterest.com of a very interesting piece of art in which the artist rolled up pieces of recycled papers to create a one-of-a-kind design. The image was linked to a website called The Rag and Bone that creates and features artists in handcrafted books and albums. It’s on this website that I found the innovative artist who designed the piece of art that I wanted to attempt to make—Lee Gainer.

Lee Gainer is an artist that makes these amazing designs that almost look a bit like flowers, made from man-made materials such as various types of paper. These designs are said to take about a month to create and contain materials such as paper, felt, metal, plastic, styrofoam, beads, dried paint, cardboard, carpet, caps, foil, etc.  All of these materials are then rolled into circles and placed next to each other to make colorful, vibrant images. The circles range in width but appear to be fairly uniform in height.

Other artists have made pieces using a method similar to Lee's, such as an  American flag that uses a wide assortment of materials. The Rag and Bone describes it as “beautiful garbage” and I think that this phrase describes the flag and Lee's crafts perfectly.

Lee used to have an Etsy store where she would sell similar items, but currently she has been focusing on her contemporary artwork, which has been focused in places such as The New York Times and The American Prospect.

Although Lee is a well-established artist, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try your hand at making a similar design. I have started my attempt at a similar design by finding colorful magazine pages, wrapping paper, felt, ribbon, and other various materials and rolling them into cylinder shapes. Eventually I will glue them all together to either a thin piece of wood or a thin canvas, resembling Lee’s designs.

Try your hand at this amazing craft, or at least check out Lee’s artwork! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at fbreisbl@asu.edu.


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