Local crafter's work selected as gifts for Israeli dignitaries

It’s not every day that one’s artwork is given to the president or king of another country as a gift, but that’s just what happened recently for Clarksville resident Kim Frey — and it wasn’t the first time.

Coastal Point • Submitted: Gov. Jack Markell, left, presents a specially-crafted paper-cutting by local artist Kim Frey to Israeli President Shimon Peres.Coastal Point • Submitted
Gov. Jack Markell, left, presents a specially-crafted paper-cutting by local artist Kim Frey to Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Gov. Jack Markell recently met with the crafter and local artist, who made special gifts for the State to give to dignitaries in Israel during the governor’s trade mission in early July.

Frey created an original design using two-layered paper-cutting. She stained the paper to look like wood and illustrated it further with watercolor. The artwork featured the Delaware state and Israeli flags and were placed in custom frames handmade by her husband, Chris. Frey made similar gifts using the flag of Sweden for Delaware to present to the king and queen of Sweden during their visit in May 2013.

And Frey, her husband, Chris, daughter Kate Donovan, and her parents, Melody and Richard Hudson, recently visited with the governor.

“We love supporting what Delaware artists produce,” said Markell. “The gifts were personal and unique because of Kim’s work. I am amazed at how precisely she is able to cut her custom designs and make something distinctive-looking with the Delaware seal.”

Frey is the resident “paper-cutter” at the family’s Hudson’s General Store in Clarksville. Each fall, at the store’s Folk Artists on the Porch event, she demonstrates her historically inspired scherenschnitte, fraktur and silhouettes.

According to her blog, “In 1989, while visiting a traditional folk craft exhibit, the early American paper arts caught her eye… intricate scherenschnitte, brightly colored fraktur, and traditional silhouettes… and Kim instantly knew where she was heading with her artwork! Chris Frey was also inspired by the beautiful faux-grained frames that held the artwork, and he headed home to master mitered corners. The kitchen table has been covered with paper snippings and frames ever since!”

This week, Frey recalled that she had always done crafts as a child. But, she said, she was married before she tried paper cutting and at first didn’t care for it.

“I didn’t have the right tools,” she explained.” I had some dull scissors and an X-acto knife!”

She then ran into a paper cutter at a craft show, and Frey wrote the crafter a letter and she wrote back, which really sparked Frey’s interest in the craft. “She really encouraged me to do my own designs from the get-go. It was really good advice,” said Frey.

A friend of Frey’s works for the Delaware Secretary of State. They had done history events and living history re-enactments together over the years, and her friend knew of her craft-making. The friend then recommended Frey’s artwork to the Office of International Trade, so that Frey’s works can be given to dignitaries who visit Delaware and for when the governor visits other countries.

“We did three different ones for when the king and queen of Sweden came,” explained Frey. “They like to give gifts that are made by Delawareans.”

In June, state officials asked if she could make some paper cuttings for the governor’s trip to Israel, and she obliged.

“It was a big deal!” exclaimed Frey. “At first, you get so into getting it done and working on a deadline you forget, but afterwards I thought, ‘That really went somewhere exciting!’ And Israel has a special place in our heart.”

She said she doesn’t always know where her artwork will end up, but this time she knows that the president of Israel, Shimon Peres, received one, and the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, received one, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Israel and the head of their chamber of commerce.

When Hudson’s General Store on Irons Lane in Clarksville hosts Frey and other artists at its annual Folk Artists on the Porch event each fall, the artists are come from all over and show off the handiwork that brings their special items to the store’s shelves.

The store is filled with primitive antiques, American folk art, reproduction furniture, home decor and gifts. In addition to the antiques and folk art, Hudson’s General Store also offers many specialty items, such as potpourri, penny rugs and pine-needle baskets, as well as seasonal items, such as wreaths. For more information on the store, visit http://hudsonsgeneralstore.com online. For more information on Frey, visit her blog at http://thistledewblog.com/about.