Meet the maker: LucyDorothy
Welcome to Cosy Craft Club's paper cutting month! We really want to encourage you to have a go at paper cutting yourself, and we'll be sharing the key things you need to know to get started. You can find all our paper cutting posts in one place here.
Here at Cosy Craft Club we love to get to know the people behind our kits, and our lovely LucyDorothy paper cutting kit is no exception. So let’s meet Lucy!
Please can you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Lucy, a paper and textile artist from North Hampshire, I also teach freehand machine embroidery and papercutting workshops at a variety of venues across Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.
How did you get into papercutting?
I’ve always loved making and being creative since I was small, I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making something! I would have loved to have gone to Art College when I was younger, but I ended up instead studying Mechanical Engineering. It was only after I took a career break to look after my two boys, that I decided to go back to University, and this time I studied Art and Design, far more fun than Engineering! During the course I gravitated pretty quickly towards working with paper and I’ve been working as an artist and teaching craft workshops ever since.
What do you enjoy about it?
I love working with paper, it’s so versatile and accessible. I tend to use whatever papers I find, so that could be old envelopes, exercise books or even junk mail. Because my raw materials are free, it gives me the freedom to experiment and try out different techniques. For example I’ve recently created a sculpture which includes lots of tiny birds all cut from old magazines. It can also be really relaxing, because you have to be quite focused on what you’re cutting, you switch off from everything else going on around you!
What are you working on at the moment?
For the past year I’ve been working on a new series of paper sculptures, each one is inspired by a book from the lovely little Observer's pocket book series. I use a variety of materials; including reclaimed papers, thread and wire, and explore lots of different ways of working with paper, in order create a little story and bring each book to life.
What kind of things can you use papercutting for?
There are lots of ways in which you can use papercuts, they can be mounted onto cardstock and turned into greetings cards, framed to hang on the wall or personalised and sent as a gift. I’ve also designed templates which you can turn into festive bunting, gift tags as well as decorative christmas lanterns, so the possibilities are endless!
What are your top tips for someone who is starting to learn paper cutting?
Experiment with a variety of paper thicknesses, and a variety of blades. If you’re cutting out a preprinted template and you start veering away from the line, don’t panic, just go with it and gradually bring the blade back to the intended line. Embrace those little wobbles, as they’ll give the finished piece character and stop it looking like something that was cut by a machine!
What do you need to look for when buying paper cutting supplies and where can you get them from?
I usually stick with a number 11 blade (not to be confused with an ACM 11 blade) because it’s perfect for both straight and curved cuts, which I buy from Ebay. And if I’m not using reclaimed papers I tend to use a very smooth 120gsm paper. I used to buy it online, but it would always arrive a little bit bashed up, so now I buy it from a local stationers.
If someone tried paper cutting and quite enjoyed it, what would you recommend as the next steps for them?
There are lots of papercutting templates available to buy on places like Etsy, with designs suitable for beginners but also those looking for something more complex. Some of them can be digitally downloaded, which makes them very affordable and easy to print out at home. You could also have a go at designing your own, I create mine digitally, but it’s easy to create one with paper and pencil, use squared paper to help you plan it out.
Where can people see your work?
I’ll be exhibiting some of my paper sculptures with Magpie Contemporary Art gallery in Farnham, as part of Surrey Artists Open Studios this June and then I’ve got another exhibition later in the year with the The Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. Or people can follow me on Instagram and Facebook, via @lucydorothyart, if they’re interested in seeing a little behind the scenes look at how I make my paper sculptures.
Thanks Lucy! Lots of great info in there for budding paper cutters. And so lovely to see how she got into crafting after qualifying as an engineer (same as me!). Do check out her Instagram and Facebook pages, and there’s lots more on her website too.
Check back to the blog soon when we’ll be taking a good look inside our LucyDorothy papercutting kit!
All images are by LucyDorothy