- Useful Things
I am paper cutting & collage artist and I use a scalpel, scissors and layers of paper - paring down & abstracting, cutting away and adding shapes to capture a place and a time. Nature and the places around me inspire me a great deal. I can never get enough of seeing old buildings or streets and wide open fields! Walks in the woods, day trips in the car to explore and go on an adventure –the things I see bubble up through my subconscious and into my sketchbooks or into cut paper pieces, all aided by plenty of cups of tea, cake and toast!
I grew up in Wiltshire, in a village near Salisbury. I am embedded in the chalk there as my whole family comes from the area, in a long line of people that make things and mend things from cobblers, to sawyers and grooms. Mine was a childhood of tree climbing, bike rides and drawing a lot. My father brought me up as my mother died when I was five, so we explored all over the place finding country churches and museums, or simply woods to walk through and be in. So I still do those things now - curiousity leading the way to see what's over the hill and round the bend.....
The journey so far........
It’s taken me a bit of time to get to specialising in cut paper. It’s been a bit of a wiggly journey down a corridor where I tried different doors to see which room fitted. There have been a few blind alleys, dead ends and rooms that lead onto rooms. It all makes for a rich and interesting life!
I trained originally as a Carpet and Rug designer on the UK’s only degree course for Carpet and Related Textiles Design at Kidderminster College/Wolverhampton University. I won the New Designers Award for Floorcovering and went on to have a rug collection at the Contemporary Textile Gallery in Soho and making rugs to commission. I cut my design teeth by designing for yachts, fabrics and stationery - had an agent, exhibited at galleries, made blinds and started to run workshops for children at my local museum. For a bit I thought ecclesiastical textiles were the answer and worked under Jane Lemon for The Sarum Group making Japanese braids for Sherbourne Abbey frontals and vestments. I made banners for community groups and was commissioned to make a large hanging for St. Botolph’s church, Aldgate. I tried all sorts of media too – from papier mache, stencilling, embroidery and general collage. I was always looking for a really flat edge and a refined line and never really found it.
All of a sudden the penny dropped.
I knew about traditional Polish Wycianki papercutting, German Scherenschnitte and Chinese folk papercutting but then I saw the papercutting art of Rob Ryan and Peter Callesen and was blown away. I looked at the stencils I was making and realised I liked the stencils rather than the effect made on the fabric! The paper was the thing... hurrah!
So in 2008 I bought a pad of black paper, got fresh blades for my father’s old Swann Morten scalpel handle and started to make simple papercuts out of a single piece of paper. A lot has changed since then... I have found ways of adding paper and the images I make are much more complex and layered in depth and meaning. And I have been really lucky to have had my work all that time exhibited at Byard Art in Cambridge, making it possible to capture in cut paper all those places and spaces........the funny thing is that I have started to cut stencils again and push paint through them. And so the journey continues!
"Paper is such a wonderful material. It has a coolness and a warmth and there isn't anything quite like paper cutting. As you cut away an image is revealed from the surface, so you cut away more and the piece comes to be. It's totally absorbing. When I am working there is nothing I need apart from a piece of paper and a pair of scissors"
Have a look through the gallery below to see where the different doors have taken me......