January 22, 2012
A few months ago I spent time drawing several designs for paper cuts (here, here and here), which never ended up being cut because of my lack of craft knife skills when it came to the details I wanted. But it’s a new year, and with that, comes new challenges, and new ways to overcome problems. So since I was having trouble with the details being so small, I figured, why not try cutting a larger version, so that the small details would also be bigger and easier to cut?
I took the design I posted a while back, based on the memories of travelling as a child, and started work on a larger version. It’s becoming so cold here that my fingertips felt frozen whilst I was trying to cut the paper! Although it’s not finished yet, I am very pleased with the results so far!
I’ve also got a few framed simpler papercuts availble in my etsy shop:
January 15, 2012
This is a doodle of the wonderful table we bought for the Heat Press last week. The press, whilst magnificently useful, is unfortunately rather heavy and has forced several lovely tables into a bow-legged stoop. We found this beauty right at the back of a second hand furniture sale, with the top unattached and in need of some tender affection. But it was old, and sturdy, make of some solid dark wood – I am unsure of which since my wood-telling skills are not at their best. I saw its potential immediately, and the perfect height to lever the Heat Press handle, (previously I had been growing concerned about injuries caused by pushing the heavy handle up and down when it was too high for me!) and had the added benefit of drawer storage, perfect for transfers and set squares. Normally I am not fond of desks with built in drawers, as I tend to fidget in rotating desk chairs and end up feeling trapped by the lack of leg space, but since I would never sit down at this desk, only stand and press bags, it was perfect! After a lick of blue paint, the studio was looking rather beautiful for the coming spring.
January 4, 2012
I dug out my typewriter a few weeks ago to type some addresses on my Christmas envelopes and was prompted to draw an ode to the wonderful machine. On one hand, it looks nothing like the typewriter I drew – my one being a weighty, battered, portable machine with a sturdy black leather handle on the case. But on the other hand, it is still a typewriter.
It is not unusual for my typewriter to come out in intervals, staying on the desk in my studio, and experiencing regular use on letters, crafts and journal entries, before retreating back into its case for a fortnight or two, whilst my mind is occupied by other things.
I felt the drawing might translate well into a bag design, like the ones in my etsy shop. I tried out so many colours, and narrowed them down to the orange and the blue. My decision-making quota had been filled for that day, so I decided to make both and see how other people like them! I find lots of feedback comes through my shop facebook page and twitter, which is a great way to connect with customers and keep them up-to-date with exciting stories and new creative adventures!
November 17, 2011
In original versions of Snow White the villain was her jealous mother, who had longed for a daughter with lips as red as blood, hair as dark as ebony and skin as white as snow. But she became envious when the girls adolescent beauty outranked her own and so took the young Snow White to collect flowers and abandoned her in the forest. The Brothers Grimm and other folklorists made alterations in various editions in order to tone the fairy tale down for children: a mother becomes a step mother, and a servant takes Snow White into the woods and is ordered to cut out her heart or her lungs. Apparently cutting out vital organs is less scary that being abandoned, perhaps because the latter is a potentially real situation.
When the Queen finds Snow White again she tempts her with objects to make her beautiful – laces for her corset and a comb for her hair. Both leave her nearly dead, through suffocation or poison, but she is saved by her co-habiting dwarfs (or, or in some versions, thieves) who arrive home in time to save her. The triple death-and-resurrection not only warned of the consequences of vanity but also warned children about taking gifts and food from strangers, particularly with the third attempt on her life is made. I wonder about the symbolism of the apple used to send Snow White to her deathly sleep. Like Eve, the adolescent girl takes a bite from the apple of knowledge. She suffers the consequences, but also discovers adulthood and relationships once the young prince finds her, and later, vengeance.
The part of the story of Snow White that disturbs me the most is what happens to the step mother, a part of the fairy tale that is frequently left out of modern retellings. The Queen arrives at the castle for the wedding, and realises that the princess bride is Snow White. Snow White and her new husband set about punishing her by making her wear a pair of heated iron shoes and dance until she drops dead, or, in some versions, dies from a heart attack.
I’ve always felt there was much more to the story of Snow White than first met the eye. As much as I take pleasure in the old non-Disney variations of the story and the symbolism within them, I also really enjoy reading modern retellings of the tale, such as Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples, which transforms Snow White into an unnatural vampire-like creature who seductively influences all those who come into to contact with her, whilst the step-mother queen desperately struggles to stop her before she controls the realm, failing miserably and meeting an iron-shoed end.
This image is available on cotton tote bags in my etsy shop.
November 14, 2011
I’ve been thinking about time a lot recently, and after looking through a pile of broken watches and clockwork a friend kindly bestowed to me, I felt compelled to draw some of them. There is something so beautiful about pocket watches and small clocks, something delightfully steampunk, that once I started drawing them I just couldn’t stop! I am also very excited about using the old watches and cog parts for something – I’m just unsure of what, yet! Any lovely ideas or suggestions? As someone who hasn’t actually worn a watch since I began art college four years ago, perhaps I should fix one up to wear?
I thought the picture works well for a bag design, so I made one for myself, and then made a few more to share in my etsy shop!
November 6, 2011
I finished colouring this in Photoshop a few days ago. A bear, in a library – part of an in-joke which I won’t explain. I was planning on painting it in watercolour but I find I enjoy digitally colouring a little more. Plus, I always decide I want to change the colours at various points during the process, which is considerably easier to correct on a computer than on paper!
October 31, 2011
Continuing on from last week, I have made another papercut design based on childhood travelling memories. I definitely prefer the brown paper to the block colour now, and I am particularly fond of the delicate washing line and oil lamp, as well as the weaving on the bender tent. There is one more image on the way that should be completed with celerity.
October 26, 2011
Paper cutting has been on my mind a lot over the last few years, but I am not entirely certain I have the technical skill to create the works of art I envision in my mind. After many messy attempts I have concluded that although I am a competent craft knife user, when it comes to the detailed lines and delicate card cutting of the designs, I can’t seem to master the technique. But I do love paper cuts and I love drawing plans for them even if I am not able to complete them myself.
The image above is the first in a series of paper cuts based on my memories of travelling as a child. Although, of course, it is not actually a paper cut, but a line drawing coloured in Photoshop so I could get an idea of what it would look like when I eventually perfected my cutting skills, or more likely, gave in and sent it to be laser cut, avoiding those pesky human errors that tend to add charm and character. I think it may work well in block colour as print too, but I do prefer it with the brown card backing.