Text by Bethany Adams
Although collage artist Nancy Eastman creates her landscapes with paper, in a way, each finished work comprises her own life story. “I’ve always been inspired since I was a little kid with rocks and shrubs and trees,” Nancy says, noting that she spent days of her childhood perched on tree branches while she stitched tea towels. Later, her time at the University of Iowa working under papermaker Timothy Barrett set another piece of the picture into place.
But it’s her work as an award-winning landscape architect—and a lifetime in Colorado—that provide the inspiration for the collages she has been creating for close to a decade. Formed of paper she makes herself, dyed with natural pigments, and hand-stitched with organic thread, her work offers a glimpse into the intricacies of the land that inspires her.
Through the cutting and placing of countless pieces of paper by hand—a process that is as organic as the materials she uses—Nancy says that she is taken to a deeper relationship with her landscape environment. The three-dimensional nature of her pieces emulates the near and distant views of the scenes depicted, but Nancy also notes that her work explores the link between land and community. “I’ve always been interested in landscape and agriculture and how they work together in a community history way,” she says.
While her work has ranged from Japanese gardens to abstract designs, Nancy’s landscapes most often incorporate the rocky, shrubby ranch scenes of her native Colorado. But no matter the images they depict, Nancy’s works are formed as much by the pieces of her life as by the pieces of paper that form their grander wholes.
To see more of Nancy’s work, visit her website at nancyeastmanartoftheland.com.