A Love For All Things Paper
We sit down with makers who have one major thing in common: a love for all things paper. From origami to calligraphy to holiday cards, these four artists find innovative ways to create art with paper. We chat with them to learn what makes them passionate about their craft and how they launched their paper-centered journies.
Claire, founder of Claire’s Origami
How did you discover the art of origami?
I learned how to fold my first piece of origami as a little girl. The fold is called “the saltshaker” which is used for a popular game among children. I liked Origami, but as I grew older I lost interest.
It wasn’t until I moved to Paris at 25 years old that I re-discovered my love for the craft. I met a woman who worked at an origami shop. I got a job with her and learned how to make small, precise folds.
How did you start your business?
In Paris I realized that I was unsure of what I wanted to do in life. Back in college I studied sound engineering, but after a few years of an unpaid internship, I decided to change careers. Eventually, I moved to Berlin and started my own business. At first, it was difficult to start from scratch, but now I’m so happy.
What type of paper and varnish do you use for your creations?
I use all sorts of papers: origami paper, gift paper, magazine papers and chopstick paper. To make precise folds, the paper must not be too thick or too thin (and it has to have a pretty pattern!). Once I fold the paper to my desired design, I coat it with two layers of transparent, shiny varnish.
When It’s Not For Sale, Make It Yourself!
What’s the story behind WOWOW Gifty and why work in paper?
I needed money, but I didn’t want a job. My creations were lying around the house, and one day my boyfriend said, “Just sell some of them!” I did that– I made a shop and sold them. The name WOWOW Gifty is partly because my friend would say “wowow” a lot and I found it catchy. One of the materials I work with is paper because it takes very little space to store and it’s relatively cheap. Also, it’s recyclable, so if something doesn’t work it ends up recycled instead of in a landfill.
You sell a beautiful paper clock. How did you come up with the idea?
The clock was for me and my boyfriend’s one-year anniversary. I googled ‘one-year anniversary gift ideas’ and I saw that clocks and paper were both one-year anniversary gifts, but I couldn’t find any paper clocks like the ones I found myself imagining. I spent the next 24 hours making it myself.
In your shop you sell an enormous fabric octopus named Kraken. How did Kraken come to be?
I wanted to make a little coin purse that was in the shape of a hippo. Unfortunately, I failed miserably (I didn’t sew as well as I do now). I had a whole bunch of fabric left, so I decided to make an octopus named “Droq the First”. People really loved him. Because of his popularity, I made even larger ones like “Jean Snow” and “Princess Ink“. One day I went crazy and I made an octopus triple the size. This is when The Kraken was born.
Making an Impact Through Calligraphy
Where does your love for writing/drawing on paper come from?
My love for writing and drawing has been there for as long as I can remember. I always enjoyed drawing, painting, and the feel of paper and ink. Later in life, when I started to feel lost in my career, I began doing calligraphy as a hobby. Once I opened those doors I fell in love again with pen and ink. There was no turning back!
When did you feel that it was the right time for you to focus on your art full time?
Focusing on calligraphy and Paper Trails wasn’t an overnight decision. I left my finance career with the intention of taking a much-needed break. I always thought about starting a creative side business and this finally seemed like the opportune time to do it. I opened my Etsy shop called Paper Trails and sold handmade greeting cards. At this point, calligraphy remained a hobby because I thought it wasn’t good enough to sell. Finally, on a whim, I started offering custom work and my calligraphy took over the business. Once I realized that there was a big appreciation for calligraphy (and even a desire to learn), I decided to take the plunge and work on Paper Trails full time.
Today we offer workshops, prints, greeting cards and customized products and stationery, all centered around calligraphy. We want beautiful calligraphy and design to take center stage, and if it impacts even one person’s life– whether they find respite in a new hobby, or pause to appreciate gorgeous letterforms on paper–we’ve done what we’ve set out to do!
Do you think people’s growing appetite for design brought the art of Calligraphy back to the world?
That’s possible, but I think that the handmade aspect of Calligraphy is why people love it so much. Today people aren’t often exposed to beautiful writing and I believe there’s a growing appreciation for what we can achieve with our own two hands. Just as in the arts of woodworking or printmaking, there’s something about creating work by hand that can’t be digitally replicated.
The Brighter the Better
Jennifer, Founder of Bright Lime Light
You tend to use a vibrant set of colors, is that why you sign your work by “Bright Limelight”?
I’m definitely drawn to a more saturated color palette. The brighter the better! The name Bright Limelight was inspired by the Pantone color “Limelight”. It’s a super cheery chartreuse yellow and it speaks to my passion for vibrant color.
What are the characteristics of watercolor paints? Any tips to share?
Watercolor is such an amazing medium and it’s incredibly versatile. For example, you can use thinner, dryer brushes to get detailed results or you can use thick brushes loaded with water to paint fluid shapes. As you become more experienced you can better judge the amount of water and paint to use in order to achieve these results.
We love your Holiday cards. Which are the most successful?
Thank you! My Scandinavian inspired cards have been the most popular. These are black ink drawings with some pops of color colored in. I think they’ve been a favorite because it’s a fresh spin on traditional holiday folk design. It’s often hard to design for popular holidays as it feels like everything’s been done before, but I actually enjoy the challenge of creating a new take on old traditions.
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Written by Sophie N.