By Lea Sander
WARSAW — Kendel Josey loves animals.
And do origami and quilling art.
She married the two for an exhibit that has been up at the Warsaw Community Public Library for a few weeks.
Some of his artwork features animals from the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion, an organization the 14-year-old Leesburg homeschooler is passionate about.
Josey said she’s been doing origami for four or five years.
“I originally started because I really have a hard time staying still in general, just because of ADHD and stuff,” she said. “I just found that if I had something to do with my hands while I was talking, it really helped me to be able to concentrate more.”
Over the years, she estimates that she has made thousands of origami pieces, including just under 100 larger ones. She noted that she often gives away her artwork.
“If his origami had tracking devices, it would light up all over the country, everywhere we go,” said his mother Julie Josey.
Kendel said she sold some of her art to the Kids Business Fair in North Webster when she was still young enough to attend. Proceeds from his art sales went to Black Pine.
The sanctuary cares for exotic animals that have been “abandoned, confiscated by law enforcement, or abandoned by private owners,” Kendel said.
“A lot of them have a history of trauma,” Julie said of the animals.
Kendel has been interested in the shrine ever since she visited it after moving to the area with her family seven or eight years ago. Julie has been a volunteer at the sanctuary for a year and a half, and Kendel has also started volunteering, helping to organize tours and prepare food for the animals.
Julie noted that Kendel had been passionate about animals since “before (she) could walk”.
Kendel said she plans to use her artwork to raise more funds for the animals of Black Pine in the future. She doesn’t just have a passion for giving financially to Black Pine; his animals also inspire his work.
She has done a piece featuring the Black Pine scarlet macaw, and is working on another featuring the sanctuary’s late tiger, Eragon.
Kendel also suffers from Asperger’s syndrome or high functioning autism, which causes her to focus on tasks.
“That’s not always a bad thing, as long as you find…something that can be used to your advantage,” Kendel said.
“It has a lot to do with the bond she has with animals because a lot of those animals have really struggled and struggled,” Julie said. “Kendel can sympathize with them more.”
Kendel said her career aspirations might involve working with animals.
As for her art, she sees it primarily as a hobby, adding that turning it into actual work might take away her passion.
“She has a lot of people who want to sponsor her as a business. She could really start a business, but it could be pressure,” Julie said.
“Her main motivation for any type of recognition is to bring attention to the animals (at Black Pine) and the kinship she has with animals as they are often misunderstood,” Julie said. “It’s not about her; it’s about finding your way and finding ways to cope with tough and difficult things, and she took the struggle and ran with it.