As the seasons are changing and flowers are beginning to bloom, I decided to make a tutorial to create simple paper flowers to decorate for Easter and celebrate spring arriving. These can be made with any paper you have in the house, and all you need is a pencil, scissors and glue. You could also paint the paper, or decorate the template with your own design before cutting it out.
In 2008 I ran away from London to move to Ulverston, a small town south of the Lake District in Cumbria. There are lots of things I love about our little town, but one thing that everyone comments on when they visit is how many of the houses are painted bright colours. This makes it look like quite a happy place to live, even though it rains a lot of the time!
Inspired by these houses one day I made a tiny house out of paper, which I’d like to share today. They have no practical use whatsoever, but they make me really happy as I have a massive soft spot for miniature things. When I was going through my old tutorials something about making tiny homes seemed to connect to what many of us are going through at the moment, with home being a place that feels safe like never before. #stayhome
I love moving toys, especially those from the Victorian era, and one of my favourites has to be Jumping Jacks. Also known as ‘Dancing Puppets’ or ‘Pantins’, Jumping Jacks have been around for thousands of years.
The earliest versions of this style of toy are thought to be from Egyptian times. However they were very popular in many different parts of the world in the past including France, Poland and India. In Victorian England children would buy them from toy shops and street sellers, but some children would make them themselves.
Inspired by the example images I found, I decided to make a fox puppet wearing a suit, because why not! This tutorial takes you through the steps to make your own puppet of your choice, but you can also download the ‘Jumping Jack’ Fox Puppet template at the bottom of the post.
Throughout my different ‘phases’ as an artist (of which there have been a fair few!) I have always made little theatres and ‘rooms-in-a-box’. Something about making a tiny world to tell stories in makes me really happy. This small paper theatre isn’t too complicated in its construction, and it allows you to create changeable background layers so you can make as many different stories as you like. Its based on a theatre book design, and inspired by Victorian paper theatres or toy theatres.
I tried to write this post with some sort of summary of the last few weeks, but I didn’t really know where to begin, and I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about how it’s impacting individuals because it is affecting us all, and in much worse ways for some people.
So as the UK enters lockdown like so many countries social media is teeming with downloads, taster courses and opportunities which is a wonderful thing. I’m so inspired by people’s generosity and creativity. But to be honest I haven’t had the time to get anything that special together yet. All my energy has gone into responding to emails about cancelled work, looking after my daughter, checking the news and trying to keep up with everything while also keeping my head together. So I’ve felt like I don’t have much to offer on the creative front.
However, as my workshops are now cancelled and teaching face to face isn’t possible for the time being, I did want to do something, and I remembered that I already have some colouring sheets for people to download. They can also be used as papercut templates for those with some papercutting experience. The first is this kingfisher in flag irises, which I hope will bring you some joy or relief in these constantly changing and scary times.
As I discovered papercutting, I began to read into it’s history and realised that it is a long established art form that has been practiced in many cultures. In this post I’ve summarised some interesting facts I’ve come across about the history of papercutting, and hopefully sharing this contribute to giving paper artists from the past and future the respect they deserve within the canon of art.
Sometimes I will visit the website of an illustrator whose work I like and I am always impressed if their biography says they always wanted to be an illustrator, they studied illustration and…then they became an illustrator! Oh to be that clear from early on what I wanted to do with myself! My journey to becoming a paper artist and illustrator has been long and winding, with detours and diversions all over the shop. So I’ve written this post in the hope it could be a useful to other people at the beginning of their creative adventure.