The World of Paper Crafts

Creatively, paper is having something of a moment and paper-cut artists have never been more popular. Rob Ryan’s finally detailed paper cuts are awe-inspiring and with an international following, he has really helped put paper cuts in the public eye.

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Vanessa Stone is another artist working with paper and scalpel. She says, of cutting a clean sheet of paper, “cutting into it is delicious and so very simple. As I cut away, the image is revealed more and more. The knife lets it out – lets it exist”.

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Other artists are inspired by the printed word. The idea of cutting into a book may seem an act of vandalism, but this form of upcycling has many creative applications. Coffee tables and chairs are transformed with old maps or printed words and papier mache has left the classroom. Many of us remember creating those sculptures as children – layer upon layer of old newspaper applied and then painted.

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The work of multi-talented artist and illustrator Vanessa Cabban may already be familiar to those of you with small children – her illustrations feature in more then 25 books and her little mole character is a firm favourite with many children.

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Vanessa uses paper mache to create wonderfully whimsical characters, often leaving areas of the print visible, which adds to their charm and curiosity. Figures are built up using layers of paper and then embellished with fabric, stitching, knit and crochet. The resulting sculptures are full of character and charm – you feel you have known them all your life.


Kirsten Demer , the Pensylvania-based owner-artist behind Green Trike Press. She started out studying sculpture but then a class in artists’ books sent her firmly down a path laid in paper.

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In addition to creating delicate sculptures and installation pieces from her handmade paper, Kirsten upcycles the pages of old atlases, sheet music and books, turning them into unique journals bound in leather, paper garlands and decoration.

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text by Rebecca Lewis

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