N.C. Artist Maya Freelon Uses Colorful Tissue To Craft Vibrant Sculptures And Prints

There’s particular pleasure in discovering the beauty in overlooked objects—something artist Maya Freelon learned years ago while searching for inspiration in her late grandmother’s basement. A child of the Great Depression, “she was super resourceful,” says Freelon. “She never threw away anything.” While riffling through rusted irons, antique quilts, photos of James Baldwin and Langston Hughes first editions, Freelon unearthed something that excited her even moreso: a stack of water-stained tissue papers, their hues having bled together to mesmerizing effect. Where some may have seen ruined craft supplies, Freelon found the insight that would come to define her practice: reimagining these humble watermarks for prismatic monoprints and soft sculptures.