Duct tape artist earns international acclaim

Local

For 200 years, the apple has been at Biglerville’s core.

There are orchards in the Adams County community.

There’s a National Apple Museum.

The street lights are shaped like apples and the Musselman’s factory tower overshadows the town.

But Biglerville can now boast a new big thing.

“This is the first time we’ve seen her as an artist, I think, rather than a hobbyist,” Lovette Mott said from the living room of the Biglerville home which doubles as an art studio for her daughter Kerry.

Kerry is an award-winning artist. But she doesn’t work with pastels, pencils, oils or brushes.

The tools of her trade are duct tape and scissors.

“I’m cutting and layering the duct tape,” Kerry said as we watched her ply her craft with a series of snips of the tape and thumb presses onto her creation.

There are snips and swipes, hours and hours of snips and swipes.

“I’m pretty anal about it,” Kerry laughs mid-cut. “They have to be either parallel or perpendicular because I think it looks sloppy otherwise.”

“I don’t understand it, I really don’t,” Lovette said with a hearty laugh.

Kerry tries to explain. “I like to play with texture. I like to be creative. And it’s fun to see how the pieces turn out. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t.”

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not sure likes Kerry’s work. It bought 10 pieces, including Abraham Lincoln and “The Starry Night” for its various museums. One piece fetched more than $9,000.

In 2016, she even won a Crafty Award.

“This is what came in the mail,” Lovette said as she showed off a bowling pin painted yellow with the words “Crafty Award Winner.” “We have no clue what this has to do with duct tape,” said Lovette, who nonetheless keeps it on her fireplace mantel.

As puzzling as that bizarre award, to Kerry’s parents, was her career path as a duct tape artist.

“How are you gonna support yourself?” Lovette wondered.

Kerry graduated from Mount Holyoke College with honors and planned to become a neurosurgeon. The duct tape choice took awhile to stick with her parents.

“It was more like, ‘are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor’,” Kerry said of her parents’ reaction.

“She was on her way to med school and we end up with duct tape all over our house,” Lovette said with another infectious laugh. “Where did we go wrong?”

But Kerry seems to be on the right track and she’s like a surgeon with those scissors.

Up close, the art is an unrecognizable blob. It has thousands and thousands of cut and stacked pieces of duct tape.

But step back and her masterpieces reveal themselves.

“I basically developed my own art form,” Kerry said. “I mean, there are challenges that come with it, but it also means I’m the best at what I do because no one else does it, so that’s pretty cool.”

Also pretty cool: she was recently placed in the Guinness Book of World Record. It’s 16 feet. It has 300,000 pieces of duct tape. It took her months to complete. It’s the largest work of duct tape art on the planet.

Leave it to a girl from Biglerville to dream big.

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