I don’t have to say much for you to see why Kathryn Bondy, the artist behind Golden Age Botanicals, is uncommonly good at her craft. The moment you realize that what you’re looking at is in fact made from paper (PAPER!) your heart will undoubtedly burst as mine did.
Kathryn’s work somehow manages to evoke the same joy, wonder, and ephemerality you’d feel looking at the real thing. Her ability to make the materials she works with—crepe paper, wire, polymer clay, and a variety of pigments—come alive in her hands is remarkable. In a word, it feels nothing short of magic.
To hear her talk about her process (listen to Kathryn Bondy on the Life In Limbo podcast) it’s clear that this magic is fueled by a deep reverence for the things she creates. She’s constantly studying the natural world around her, noticing the details and the heart of what makes something breathe and bloom. Her pieces are made with a “devotion to the life it’s going to lead”. You really do get the sense that despite the fact she’s finished with the piece, it’s life is just unfolding.
Kathryn continues to explore and refine all that she can do with paper while working on a variety of flowers, butterflies, moths, and even fruits. In addition to selling collections of her work online, she does commissions for those of us looking to capture a story or intention with a bespoke piece. What a lovely way to mark and celebrate a transition—a living reminder of, as Kathryn puts it, “who we are and what we can become”.
We can’t wait to see what 2020 brings for Kathryn and Golden Age Botanicals!
Q & A with
Golden Age Botanicals
What’s the best thing someone could say about your work?
A florist friend of mine saw my work in person for the first time, and she described it as having an inner Nicholas Cage reaction: lots of internal screaming, things being lit on fire, feeling like you’re being launched into the air on a motorcycle.
She stared at every petal, peered underneath the flowers to see the detail where the bloom meets the stem, touched the seeds on the figs I’d made, noticed the veins in the leaves. She’s a florist and sees hundreds of flowers in a week, so she knows that all of these details already exist in nature — I’ve just rendered them in paper. But in paper those details suddenly became incendiary, burning as an impression in her mind’s eye of what already exists.
So if someone looks at my work, sees the details and then goes back into their world with a new relationship to what grows around them…then I consider that the best thing someone could say about my work.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
I love the early part of my process: the research and studying part. It’s when I get to closely observe the things I want to make and experiment with my materials to see what I can come up with. I tend to use the same supplies (crepe paper, wire, polymer clay, and a wide variety of pigments) to make a whole bunch of things, and it’s amazing to see all that’s possible within them!
“I love making things that people connect with because of a story they have that is deeply rooted in something important to them.”
– Golden Age Botanicals
What are you curious or excited about right now?
I’m curious about growing my art practice! There’s so much that I want to do, and I’m interested to see how this practice can flex to fit new materials, approaches and collaborations too!
I’m also excited about the ways that this work can help contribute to human and environmental causes, even in a small way. That’s a new thing I’m exploring, and I’m curious to see where it leads.
What three words best describe your work?
Considered, refined, and alive.
What is your favourite thing (flower, fruit, etc.) to make and why?
I love making new things! There aren’t a lot of flowers, fruit or insects that I make again and again, and if I do it’s because I know people love them and I want them to have something they love! I think making new things appeals to me because I love to learn, and the experimentation phase of my process teaches me so much.
I also love making things that people connect with because of a story they have that is deeply rooted in something important to them. Personal mythology is endlessly fascinating to me, and because nature has its own mythology too, it’s incredible to me that my work can hold multiple stories at once that are also interconnected!