I came to paper-cutting through a bit of a meandering journey. I always loved drawing and painting with rich and vibrant colours and took that passion into textiles by training to be a carpet and rug designer by studying on the UK’s only degree course in the heart of Kidderminster and Wolverhampton Polytechnic. After graduating, I won the New Designers Award for Flooring and went on to design exclusive hand tufted rugs for a gallery in Soho. I got an agent too, and designed surface patterns for fabrics and stationery and then explored hand made textiles bit by bit by working for the Sarum Group under Jane Lemon, making ecclesiastical embroideries which made me make my own large hanging pieces for churches and events. I didn’t realise it but this was all fine tuning my compositional and design skills.
A sort of magic happened around 2008….
I’d been using hand cut stencils to print onto fabric and realised that the paper stencil could be an art work in itself. I didn’t need to use it as a tool to mark fabric. Rob Ryan’s fabulous paper cuts were being featured lots in magazines around that time and I’d always loved Matisse’s paper cuts too, so combined with also seeing Hans Christian Andersen’s paper cuts I could see a whole world of working in paper open up before me! I researched into German Scherenschnitte and Polish Wycinanki too, learning all about how to compose and use scalpels and scissors to make papercuts.
So I decided to start making my own papercuts. I started simply by using a single black sheet of paper to start. I cut out a chair. It was so exciting! So quick and fast and thrilling! It struck me I could do paper cuts of buildings. I lived in Letchworth Garden City and was surrounded by the most glorious Arts and Craft architecture and it seemed a natural fit to make papercuts of the buildings I loved on my doorstep.
PAPER SCISSORS STONE EXHIBITION
I showed Josh Tidy, the curator of the First Garden City Museum, some of the pieces I had made of the buildings in Letchworth and he loved them and offered me a solo show at the museum. It was fantastic! I got the chance to really make a body of pieces exploring the Garden City and the technique. I made large hanging papercuts and small ones too but all mainly in black and white with single pops of intense colours.
CAMBRIDGE AND BYARD ART
From 2008 until the pandemic of 2020 I was delighted to have been represented by Byard Art in Cambridge. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to make many pieces based on the fabulous punts and buildings of the city. And many pieces were sold and headed out to private collections.
Some of the posters from solo exhibitions..........
USING THE PAPER CUTS TO BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR/ GREETINGS CARDS
I was featured on the front cover of Cambridge Edition lots of times! Many people over the years had suggested I publish my work as greetings cards but these covers really did get me to make the leap with the essential help of my husband guiding me and supporting me. I started simply with just six designs and now the card collection has grown to 60 designs. I am delighted to be stocked at Hub Sleaford, Cambridge Contemporary Crafts, Five Leaves Bookshop, David’s Bookshop and in many other outlets.
Some of my cards…….
After graduating, I did two post graduate diplomas in running residencies in Primary and Secondary Schools at Anglia Ruskin University. And I did all my Arts Award training too. Over the years I have run workshops, teaching paper cutting to all ages and in all sorts of places from museums, art galleries, pop up festivals, schools, book fairs.