Friday, 1:30pm
31 October 2014

Cut and crafted

Paper Cut: An Exploration into Contemporary World of Papercraft Art and Illustration

By Owen Gildersleeve Design by Chris Clarke and Owen Gildersleeve Rockport, £20

In recent years there has been a shift in the world of design towards the more handmade physical form, as a growing number of designers and illustrators turn their back on digital methods to take part in a new wave of tactile image-making and design, writes Lisa Hassell.

Paper has emerged as the most accessible material for exploration – it is affordable, light and durable. Paper Cut: An Exploration into Contemporary World of Papercraft Art and Illustration by Owen Gildersleeve (Rockport, £20, designed by Gildersleeve and Chris Clarke) explores the work of 30 paper-craft artists, across a wide range of projects and disciplines – from illustration to graphic design, fashion, performance and set design.

Cover image by Owen Gildersleeve.
Top: From a series of images by Chrissie Macdonald for Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Photography: John Short.


The work was selected by Gildersleeve, a specialist in paper-craft illustration and the book reveals the meticulous preparation behind the creation of paper-cut design, documenting design processes, tools and craft techniques. Through fascinating short interviews with leading practitioners in the field, the reader is invited to explore, and to learn how to develop a career as a paper-craft artist through expert advice and time-saving techniques to help you speed up your working process.

Notable projects those of Swedish born Fideli Sundqvist and Australian paper stylist Stuart McLachlan, whose wearable paper pieces for Vogue and Cathedral are a collection of elaborate ‘diorama’ style silhouette cut-outs that sit delicately on the heads and shoulders of models.

Julie Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscroft of The Makerie’s The Emerald Omar created for Channel 4 using hand-printed Chyogami paper with gold foil and Swarovski crystal.


Yulia Brodskaya’s Firebird. Photography: Michael Leznik.


Among the younger stars are London designer and image-maker Hattie Newman, with her bold and colourful paper sculptures, and Russian-born Yulia Brodskaya, who has built an impressive clients list, including New York Times magazine, with a fresh twist on quilling, the coiling and shaping of narrow paper strips.

Paper sculpture of a dragon and pheonix by Jeff Nishinaka for Jackie Chan.


Jeff Nishinaka’s crisp, clean and multi-layered sculptures of flora and fauna are breath-taking in scale and execution, playing with light and shadow to dramatic effect, taking inspiration from classical Greek and Roman sculpture.

Estonian designer Eiko Ojala has developed a handmade digital technique to create the illusion of handmade paper craft. Unlike others in the book, Ojala works exclusively by computer to draw shapes and colour them digitally using paper and shadow as a visual guide.

Eiko Ojala’s editorial illustration for Estonian newspaper Eesti Ekspress.


An exhibition featuring more than 50 pieces of kirigami (origami that is cut as well as folded), paper sculptures and prints by 25 artists featured in the book is currently on display at The Proud Archivist in London. ‘Paper-Cut – The Exhibition’ continues until 2 November 2014.

Hattie Newman’s Miami Motors papercraft illustration for Stylist magazine. Photography: Ania Wawrzkowicz.


Lisa Hassell, design writer and director of Inkygoodness, Birmingham

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.