Kamal Letterpress Art

Kamal Letterpress Art

By Jaime Gillin
I stumbled onto Kamal Patel's letterpress work in the Chronicle Books 2010 publication The Little Book of Letterpress, which highlights work by letterpress studios around the globe. The work by her Richmond, Virginia-based studio, Kamal, impressed me with its ornate patterns couched within a modern aesthetic. "The peacock has always been one of my favorite animals, and I wanted to capture their bold colors and swirling patterns simply and graphically," she's quoted as saying in the book, describing one of the suites of letterpressed cards she's developed.

Other collections were inspired by a visit to her ancestral home of India, and her "love of jewelry and textiles, patterns and symmetry, and colors from my past and present," as she wrote in a recent email to me.

The Peacock card in an earthier color range.

Another take on the Peacock card does away with the outer dotted ring entirely for a pleasingly minimalist effect.

An alternate version is even more stripped-down, so the color in the center packs greater punch.

A display of the full suite of wall art, printed on natural chipboard.

Pink Peacock and White Dangles make happy wall-fellows.

In that same email, she also announced a new collection of wall art, to complement her collection of paper art.

I asked her what inspired this collection, and she wrote: "Many consumers who purchase my cards say that the designs are much too pretty for such a small amount of white space. They would frame the cards and hang them as mini wall art. They'd purchase them and end up not giving them away since they felt they were 'decor for the house.'"

"I love contrasts," she continued. "East and West. Black and White. Modern decor or vintage. Bright yet neutral. Something global yet made in the US. I hoped to design authentic pieces of art that could go anywhere, in a child's room (like the Pink Peacock print) or a formal living room (like the White Dangles print)."

"The colors were the hardest part. The series is meant to mix and match. Each piece compliments another, so you can have a single piece or pick two large ones and mix it with a smaller one. You can also pick two neutral colors and throw in a splash of teal. I had them all on one wall, and thought they looked gorgeous!"

A close-up of the Pink Peacock print, framed.

We're inclined to agree. The pieces are available from her online shop here. Cards start at $4.50; wall art ranges from $60 to $120.


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