Minnesota-based artistic collective JUDiTH + ROLFE sculpt paper into voluptuous plant and flower motifs blossoming with movement and character. Featuring many botanical species including magnolias, irises and begonias, the duo’s work is a reminder of the diversity of plant structure and form. Each of their floral forms is ‘quilled’ into its shape, from the delicate veins making up the plant’s skeleton, to the fleshy petals exploding with color.
The duo’s business name JUDITH + ROLFE is derived from their middle names; and JUDITH (Daphne Lee) is the artist while her partner, ROLFE (Jamie Sneed), runs the business and logistics. “Before embarking on this journey as a paper artist, I worked for over a decade as an architect in New York City, which is also where I met my husband, Rolfe,” Lee tells Colossal.
Lee and Sneed were drawn to paper as a medium due to its availability and transformability: depending on light, shadows and perspective, their artworks change shape and form. “The technique I use most can broadly be called ‘quilling’ since I work with strips of paper and lay them on edge to form designs,” says Lee. Paper quilling is an artistic practice dating back to the 15th century, which was initially used to decorate religious objects. Basing her technique on the ancient craft, Lee gives her work a contemporary twist by creating big and bold pieces of single flowers or plants. In her process, Lee treats each strip of paper as its own line, from which she ‘sculpts’ her floral artworks. “The paper strips are glued individually to create the artwork, not unlike sketching with paper,” Lee explains. But unlike sketching with paper, Lee’s 3D artworks blossom out of their frame, mirroring the fragile flowers they resemble.