Meet the Artist: KELLY JOY LADD

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When I first met Kelly Joy Ladd I was standing in front of one of her pieces hanging on the wall in the Mennello, and I was using every single bit of my self-restraint to not reach out and touch it. The paper, torn so beautifully, stuck out from the wall like a soft spiky-haired animal calling out to be touched. And suddenly Kelly was standing there and she gracefully allowed me to interview her about her work. Get to know more about this incredible paper and fiber artist, Kelly Joy Ladd.

Recent acquisition for your home? 
We just bought some new plants for garden and porch. Our latest plant acquisition was five different varieties of mints: apple, citrus, peppermint, spearmint and chocolate. Chocolate mint is my favorite. 

Current obsession?  
My dog Miso. He is a mini poodle/terrier mix. We adopted him a year ago and he quickly became my best friend. My family and I try to take him with us out and about to restaurants, road trips and farmers markets whenever possible. He hangs out with me all day while I make art and sometimes is gracious enough to model for me next to my art for my Insta feed. ( 

Favorite hobby?
I like to garden with my son, Kai. A few years ago, Kai really got interested in gardening, so our garden grew and we now have some really cool varieties of plants. I haven’t had much luck growing edibles in summer. It’s just too hot. Come fall, winter and spring, however, our garden is blooming. Some of the edibles in our garden include: mulberries, bananas, papayas, kumquats, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pineapples, peanuts, sugar cane, broccoli and more. 

Always on you - watch, memento, etc?
My Fitbit. My dad, brother and I always compete on how many steps we get each week. (Not to brag, but I’m often the winner.) 

Childhood memento? 
I still have my Care Bear collection. I still love them so much. Growing up my imagination soared with the idea of these colorful bears living in the clouds. Seriously, what is not to love?

Favorite spot in your home? 
I love hanging out in my art studio amongst all of the paper and artwork. The old pieces inspire me and push my creativity forward. I also love spending time in my big backyard on my hammock soaking in the sun and feeling the breeze across my cheeks. 

Favorite neighborhood restaurant?
I love Glass Knife. Their avocado toast is pure heaven. 

Favorite neighborhood shop? 
Porch Therapy and Owl’s Attic 

Favorite dish to prepare? 
For dessert, I make healthy “ice cream” using my Yonana machine. All you have to do is toss frozen fruit in the machine and it creams it to the consistency of ice cream. My family usually make it with frozen bananas and strawberries. We also sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top for fun. I should be a spokesperson because I think everyone should own one of these machines…Google it…it’s amazing!

Favorite place visited in the last year?
My family recently visited to Ashville, NC. We spent spring break hiking and exploring in the mountains, rivers and waterfalls. It is absolutely gorgeous up there. 

Best gift recently received? 
I haven’t received it yet actually, but my BFF is bringing me back a rock from her trip to Newfoundland. I really love receiving (and giving) rocks as gifts, especially from faraway places. 

Most inspiring book you’ve read? 
I Love You, Stinky Face. I used to read this book to my son when he was little pretty much daily. My favorite part of the book reads, "But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face? Then I'd plunk you in a bubble bath! But if you still smelled stinky, I wouldn't mind. I'd whisper in your ear, I love you, Stinky Face." 

The thing you most love about your city? 
I love that the art scene is small enough that as an artist you can feel comfortable getting out there and meeting the curators, art gallery owners, collectors and other artists. 

Best thing about what you do? 
What I love the most is watching someone (especially if they don’t know me) look at my art at a gallery or exhibit. I love how I, the artist, am no longer a part of the equation. My job was solely to go through the process of creating the artwork. As people view the piece, it’s all about their own personal connection to the art. I love being a fly on the wall witnessing it all take place. It really brings me joy. 

On your bedside table? 
A glass of water and my sketch book. I often jot down ideas right before I go to bed or when I wake up.

A film that holds a special place in your heart?
I love Mary Poppins. I love themes it represents such as living in the now, not taking yourself too seriously and believing that anything is possible. 

What do you love about paper? 
I love that I can take a piece paper, which is an every day item that we often don’t think twice about, and transform it into a 3D piece of art. 

What are some of the themes of your art? 
I’m very interested and inspired by the cosmic mysteries of the universe, astronomy in general, and the cycles and patterns found in the universe, nature and ourselves.

How do you get the ideas for your art? 
When I’m in that place between sleep and awake, either when I’m meditating, doing yoga or in a deep relaxed state, the ideas come to me.
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