Lesley Haas was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has made her home in Heidelberg, Germany from 1988 until 1996 and from 1999 – 2000. Since 2006, she is again living in Philadelphia.
She developed an interest in handmade paper after viewing a comprehensive exhibit in which the artworks were made with paper in New York City. Her technique and style has been influenced over the years both by ongoing studio and by coursework with well-known paper artists. She is an active member of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA). The signature of her work is the use of natural fibers and pigments from various parts of the world to blend the characteristics of the fibers with different elements of style. As an extension of her papermaking she has created numerous objects from vegetable papyrus. Digital collage and prints can be found in her portfolio and the newer work consists of all types of recycled papers.
Job Description: Paper Artist / Personal Assistant
Upcoming projects/exhibitions: PAPER: A Deckled Edge The Paper Artwork of Lesley Haas -UPenn,Van Pelt-Dietrich Library thru February 15, 2013
Select links: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/lesleyhaas.html
What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?
For years I delved into the fashion world which influenced my work. In recent years, I’ve created a series of paper scrolls, decoupaged frames and small paper art objects.
What are you currently working on?
I recently re-finished a large mirror for the Habitat for Humanity Upcycle Challenge, at the 2013 Philadelphia Home Show, which will be at their Booth in Hall A, between February 2-10. Public voting: http://www.phillyhomeshow.com/PHS/AtTheShow/Ultimate_Upcycle_Challenge_286.aspx
What’s your background / how did you first get involved with art?
It took me years to launch my studio career, since I’m self-trained. My mother was a fashion editor and publicist in Philadelphia, and was very active with Fashion Group International, so she was always coming home with the latest trends.
What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you?
I’m participating in the Habitat for Humanity and Home Decor Upcycle event. On from there, I’ve been accepted to participate in the European Cultural Capital of 2013 – South of France and I’ll have a table at the Chestnut Hill Home Show in May.
Any exhibits coming up:
PAPER: A Deckled Edge The Paper Artwork of Lesley Haas – September 4, 2012 – February 15, 2013- UPENN Kamin Gallery, VanPelt Dietrich Library, 3420 Walnut St. (entrance on Locust Walk)
Hours: Monday -Friday : 9am-6pm
Passes required for Weekends: can be requested on the day of visit – please call reference desk: 215 898.7555
Is any of your work political?
Occasionally it comes through…
Has the meaning of your work changed over time?
Yes, it has. After creating representational pieces for entry into Edible Paper and my paper dresses, I realized I wanted to try and focus on more abstract art.
How do you choose your subject matter?
Usually it’s the material I have on hand. For example, a friend gave me some base materials, which sat in the back of my car for months, which Ifinally turned into the scrolls series.
Are you involved with any organizations/ Is there a group you feel affinity with/ do you collaborate with other artists?
Yes, I am an active member of The International Association of Paper Makers and Paper Artists – IAPMA. On occasion I will collaborate with other artists.
What are some misconceptions people often have about you?
No one has shared such info with me. You’d have to ask others.
What were you like as a kid? Gregarious and unkempt
Favorite writers? Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lalita Tademy, G.R.R. Martin, Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels? Fantastic Four – Marvel Comics
What are you reading? Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
What are you listening to these days? WXPN
What are a few of your favorite spots in Philly/ elsewhere:
Philadelphia Free Library, Magic Gardens, Wissahickon Forbidden Drive, Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, Italy, Weststadt, Heidelberg, Germany
Favorite artists and why?
Ben Franke – pristine photography, Inez Fritschy – I enjoy how she mixes media in creating her original objects, Josephine Tabbert – her use of home grown Esparto grass to use exclusively in her wonderful paper art, Alan Shields – he was sewing on paper and his work influenced me greatly! I met him in his latter years and mentioned this and he didn’t even seem to notice he had started a trend! Brad Holland – his illustrations sing to me!
What was the last exhibit you attended?
Society of Illustrators, NYC
What was the first piece of artwork you bought/ do you buy a lot of artwork? It was a silkscreen print. I’d purchase more if the money flowed freely!
What’s your idea of happiness? A healthy and happy son! And selling my work!!
If you weren’t an artist what would you be? In the theatre 🙂