THE JOY OF CRAFT

Taking a look at a new TV series which is a joyful celebration of all things handmade, plus I explain how you can discover your creative side with me in an inspiring environment.

“It’s lovely to create something that’s a bit of you.”

“This forces you to slow down. I have no sense of time.”

“I feel like a kid again.”

“It would really give me some me-time.”

If you’ve been watching the fantastic BBC Four series MAKE! Craft Britain, you may have heard the show’s participants uttering the words above. The programme follows members of the public as they attend workshops to learn a range of new-to-them crafts, from rag rugging to letterpress. It’s a wonderful watch.

The first episode of the series featured hushed voices, satisfied smiles and enthusiastic noises as the workshop attendees turned their hands to time-old traditional craft skills, while artists working in embroidery and paperart showcased their work and explained why they loved it so much. “Even a single sheet of paper can be made into something quite beautiful,” explained one origami addict.

That’s something you’ll discover on my papercutting workshops, when you learn basic cutting techniques with a scalpel before moving on to choose from a wide range of pre-designed templates (or you can design your own). The goal of my workshops is that you’ll leave feeling like the MAKE! Craft Britain participants – having learned something new, challenged yourself and made a beautiful piece of art.

GIVE YOURSELF SPACE

In our busy modern lives, it’s easy to get caught up in busy-ness. I don’t know about you, but as an adult I’m endlessly rushing around to get jobs done, I often put my own needs at the bottom of the pile while I make sure everyone else is happy, and my head is a constant flurry of important dates to remember, school events, play dates and to-do lists – that’s before I even get started on my work!

And those are just some of the reasons I love teaching workshops. Like the participants in the MAKE! Craft Britain workshops, I adore the me-time that my craft brings me, I love slowing down to create something beautiful from paper, and I love putting my heart and soul into what I do. Workshops give me the chance to share that passion, while helping others enjoy the benefits papercutting can bring – relaxation, quality time spent learning something new, challenging yourself with something creative you’ve never attempted before, and learning a skill you can enjoy for life and apply to lots of different things; whether it’s creating a handmade card for a loved one or making a personalised papercut wedding gift for your best friend.

Teaching at Swallows & Artisans

Teaching at Swallows & Artisans

WHY COME TO ONE OF MY WORKSHOPS?

So what sorts of things happen on a Beginner’s Papercutting Workshop with Holmes-made Papercuts? First up, we meet each other, share a brew and have a mingle to get to know one another. My workshop groups are always very small so that I can give you dedicated one to one time while I teach. It’s all very relaxed and laid-back; you can be as chatty or as quiet as you like – there’s no pressure (although it’s very likely you’ll make some new friends on my workshops!). Next up I go over what we’ll be covering during the session, which varies depending upon how many hours we have, but will always involve learning how to use a scalpel safely and accurately, trying out colour infills, developing an understanding of how to design your own papercuts (even without much artistic skill – perfect if you want to be able to translate your new knowledge into making gifts or cards for others!), and choosing from a range of pre-designed templates to cut, so that you leave the workshop with at least one completed papercut ready to gift or keep for yourself. If you prefer, you can design your own piece to cut – I’ll help you with this. There’s also the opportunity to purchase tools, a mat and more templates for a small fee, and I even offer framing if you’d like to take home your completed piece ready to display!

If this all sounds a bit beyond your skill level, please don’t worry. Everyone who comes on my Beginner’s Workshops is an absolute beginner (or at least has very limited experience), and I’m always astounded by how well participants do under my guidance. Within a few hours of practice, you can create smooth lines, steady cuts and beautiful works of art using my templates, or I can advise you on how you can design your own! After the workshop, you can use these skills again if you wish; either by downloading and printing more of my templates, or by creating your own designs for invitations, cards, unique art work or gifts. Papercuts make wonderful gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christenings or Christmas, and if you decide to continue your newfound skills after your workshop experience, I’m always on hand with advice via email should you need it!

YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE

I’m really keen to teach at venues which reflect the vibe I want my workshops to have. It’s important to me that I teach in relaxing locations, like at Swallows & Artisans in the Lake District, or ArtisOn in the Yorkshire Dales. In these places, the stunning surroundings help to inspire creativity (the views across Coniston Water from the workshop at Swallows & Artisans are just breathtaking). These venues bring a touch of luxury for my attendees, with shelves filled with artisan makes and comfy areas in which to relax when we’re not busy learning. I also want to ensure that the venues where I teach help my attendees to feel looked after and nurtured – from warm, comfortable surroundings to a healthy, wholesome lunch.

I like people to leave my workshops feeling refreshed and inspired, and that they’ve had a great day which has been good value for money. The feedback I’ve received over the years certainly reflects this, and it’s why I continue to teach papercutting workshops to keen attendees – I just love sharing my expertise and passing my passion on!

If you fancy joining me at my next workshop, it’s taking place at Swallows & Artisans in Coniston, in the beautiful Lake District, on Saturday April the 14th. There are a limited number of tickets, and you can get yours here! Swallows & Artisans is a gorgeous purpose-built workshop space with sweeping views over the shores and fells around Coniston Water. There’s a really delicious hot lunch provided, and all the cake you can eat (it’s not a Holmes-made workshop if there’s no cake!). Tickets for the day are priced at just £75 for six hours of indulgent relaxation learning a wonderful new skill, along with all materials and tools, plus lunch and refreshments included. You’ll have the chance to take home your tools and more templates, and to have your piece framed up too if you like (small charges apply).

INSPIRATION ON TAP

Swallows & Artisans is right next door to Lanehead, the historic home of artist William G Collingwood, where Arthur Ransome taught William’s grandchildren to sail in Swallow II. This provided the inspiration for the book Swallows & Amazons – hence the workshop venue name! Lanehead is a beautiful period property, tucked away off the beaten track, and steeped in history with luxurious accommodation. If you like, you can book to spend two or three nights here when you book in for my workshop – why not make the most of your time in the Lakes? You could even book on to The Creative Nib’s Modern Calligraphy workshop, which is taking place at Swallows & Artisans the day after my workshop, for a weekend full of creativity and learning. You can find out more about accommodation options here or alternatively (if you need any more persuading) just look at this stunning bedroom view! Fancy waking up to that…

Lanehead, Coniston – bedroom view

The view from one of Lanehead’s bedrooms. Nice!

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be teaching later this year at The Artisan Hub, a new venue between Stafford and Wolverhampton. The workshop will be on a weekend – we are still firming up dates, but the summer months are looking most likely. The best way to stay up-to-date on this event (and all of my events!) is to sign up to my mailing list here, where you’ll receive a newsletter about once a month letting you know about forthcoming events, new products and other Holmes-made goodness.

As always, if you have any questions about my workshops or my work, use the contact form on this website to get in touch, and I’ll get back to you soon!

The next episodes of MAKE! Craft Britain are on at 9pm on BBC Four on 28th of March and 4th of April. Make sure you tune in to watch more crafts being covered, including jewellery making, cross stitch, mosaic making and knitting. It’s definitely worth a watch!

 

On creative block, not being good enough, and not giving up.

‘I used to be a papercutting artist.’

‘I was a self-employed creative, but I’m taking a break while I decide on a new direction.’

‘I worked as an artist, but…’

No matter how I try and phrase it, it doesn’t sound right. What is all this ‘used to be’, this ‘was’?

What do I mean, I’m ‘taking a break’?

I’ve never taken a break. I don’t take breaks. My brain never stops. I have always been creative. It runs in my blood, from my grandparents to my beautiful daughter, there’s a creative root that’s grown and flourished and blossomed throughout my life – whether it’s painting from my imagination as a toddler, working as an arts co-ordinator to support young people with disabilities, writing articles for national magazines as a journalist, or creating bespoke keepsake papercuts for great clients.

I’ve never not created.

But suddenly that blossom has withered away. My petals have fallen.

Trying to get my head round the concept of taking a break from my creativity, or even – heaven forbid – actually stopping papercutting… Well, it’s difficult.

For a few weeks, I haven’t created much at all. It seems to have started a while back, perhaps triggered by some rather nasty personal insults which caused me to question myself a little too much (apparently, I’m “just a mum who cuts holes in paper in her daughter’s bedroom” – the things people say when they have a keyboard to hide behind). I’ve been going through the motions. I’ve posted out Etsy orders in between being mum and caring for my family during the Easter holidays. Commissions have taken a back seat while I wrestle with ‘just not feeling it’ – thank you to those understanding customers. I’ve spent time with family, time alone, time online trying to breathe new life into my creativity with the support of a network of amazing fellow business owners. I’ve spent time exercising, meditating, reading… But very little time at my cutting mat.

The feeling of not creating is a very strange one indeed. I’ve come to realise that the minutiae of running a creative business (and the vast amount of non-creative time that involves) has started to overcome me. Keeping up with the admin, marketing, accounts, social media, getting my product photography just so, setting out plans for the future… But wait a minute. When did I last sit with a pencil and just draw? When did I last go for a walk in nature and not check my iPhone for Etsy stats or Instagram likes? When did I last spend an evening with my family without responding to client enquiries or updating product listings in my online stores?

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It’s Spring – time to gather up my petals and start blooming again.

I’ve come to realise that what I’ve been experiencing isn’t creative block. It’s creative overload. Surrounded by highly talented peers who are consistently coming up with bestsellers and new concepts; constantly seeing apparently perfect, organised lives and brilliant businesses on social media… I won’t be the first creative person to tell you that my ideas don’t feel original, that I can’t come up with anything new, that people must be bored of what I do, that I feel like I’ve no sense of direction, that I’m just not good enough. But all of these thoughts have whirred around my head in recent months.

Ah, self doubt. How I loathe you.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

And it’s been so hard, so hard when everyone else seems to be doing great, and when working alone (when I usually really value my solitude) can make me feel like the loneliest person on the planet. Not physically alone, but also alone with those isolating, almost self-indulgent thoughts.

I’ve reached out. I’ve spoken to other creatives, to friends, to people who follow me on social media. I know I’m not alone – in every sense of the word.

From my best friend: “You’re such a talented person. Taking some you time is maybe what you need.”

From a brilliantly creative online friend: “You may find you don’t need a massive break,  just time to remember how to be you again. You are a papercut artist, that’s what you do.”

Who is this ‘you’ that they speak of? I’m not sure who she is… I am my business and my business is me, and if I never have another decent creative idea ever again OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE WORST FEELING EVER!

And yet another wonderful original creative talent: “You are more than capable. Please don’t think you’re on your own with this, you’re not, at all.”

Of course, when you’re in the mire of creative numbness, feeling like you’ll never have an original idea ever again (while simultaneously beating yourself up about having such narcissistic thoughts when there are so many more important things going on in the world), these loving, supportive words bounce off your psyche like raindrops on a leaf-laden forest floor. Just not in such a beautiful way.

Because, when you keep telling yourself the same thing over and over, sometimes you start to believe it. Even when, deep down, you know it’s not the truth.

When you’re used to always being creative, creative block is a very scary feeling. None of my ideas feel like mine, you tell yourself. I will never be able to create anything ever again – you’re convinced. What if I never have any more ideas ever again!? My brain is empty. Literally empty. And this sketch looks too much like this other artist’s work. And I can’t do this design because everyone is doing this style and I don’t want to look like I’m jumping on some sort of bandwagon. And I can’t even put my pencil to paper as I’ve talked myself out of having any sort of talent or four years’ worth of happy, satisfied customers. That never really happened, did it? Face it, you’re just not good enough.

And so it continues, round and round. The nasty cycle.

Weirdly, all I’ve wanted to do since this murky creative fog descended is to write. Which is what I used to do – and do well – before my daughter was born. In a cruel twist of post-baby nose-diving self-confidence, I gave that up (not good enough! Are you spotting a theme here?) to pursue papercutting, which I loved (love). So perhaps I do still have a little creative ember burning away inside of me. Maybe I just need to find that spark to light it up again.

At times like this, I seek advice everywhere. I want to know what my favourite thinkers and influencers think about creative block, about self care, about keeping going and trying new things. The brilliant Austin Kleon quips: “You can’t find your voice if you don’t use it” and (pertinently, for me) “You have to remember that your work is something you do, not who you are.” Phew. Well that’s a relief.

Meanwhile, my beloved Elizabeth Gilbert tells me: “Done is better than good,” and “Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.”

Elizabeth? Is that you? Actually inside my mind??

I could read every opinion and every theory about the situation, continue my procrastination and prolong my fear of getting wrong the commissions that a few of my wonderful (and patient, and understanding) clients are waiting for. But I still wouldn’t find the answer. Why? Because only I have the answer. And I know, through all my denial, dilly-dallying, self doubt, lack of confidence, anxieties over my abilities, that the answer is very, very simple. Too simple.

Do the thing.

Draw the sketch. Create the piece. Cut the paper. DO THE THING.

Actually doing the work, getting my ideas down (preferably free of my own judgement and self-criticism) is the only way I can get past this block. To rediscover my love of the process, to reignite my passion for the craft. It is truly the only way.

So that is what I’m going to do.

One pencil line, one scalpel cut at a time.

I’ll see you on the other side. Who knows what may happen…?

Words and images © Melissa Holmes :: HolmesMadePapercuts

Launch of The Paper Artist Collective

I’m thrilled to let you know I’m now part of The Paper Artist Collective; an international group of hugely talented artists all working with the medium of paper.

Proud member of The Paper Artist Collective.The Collective is made up of some 50 members from 22 countries and, since our formation in early 2015, we have been working together to share opportunities and information.

My artist's page on the PAC websiteAs a member of the Collective, I’m excited to be involved with such a diverse and interesting group of people. I consider it a real honour to have been invited to be part of this internationally renowned group of artists. We have a number of events and exhibitions planned, so I will keep you posted on those over the months ahead. Please feel free to visit the website, follow our Instagram or find us on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about the many individual artists involved, and our future plans, which include a pop-up shop in Oslo and an exhibition in Geneva.

In the meantime, I am busy with commissions, Christmas planning and organising more workshops (despite it being the Summer holidays and me saying I would take less on!), as well as filling my lovely new Etsy shop with goodies. So yes, I’m certainly very busy just now! My order books are filling up for Christmas, with limited slots now available from mid-October onwards, so if you’d like a bespoke piece like a family tree, quote papoodle or filled letters papercut, please contact me.

Till next time,

Melissa

Holmesmadepapercuts is on Etsy!

After almost four years of creating my hand-drawn, hand-cut papercuts and lovely printed products, I’m thrilled to let you know I’ve now created a shop on Etsy.

You can visit it here.Holmesmadepapercuts - now on Etsy!

Etsy is one of the world’s best known marketplaces, and it brings together creative entrepreneurs like me with lovely shoppers like you. Since being founded in 2005, Etsy has grown to have 1.4 million active sellers (I’m a little fish in a huge ocean of talent!) and a huge 20.8 million active buyers. It’s a safe and secure method of shopping online, and I’m pleased as punch to be part of it.

For now, I’m maintaining my website at www.holmesmadepapercuts.com while I shift everything over to Etsy and decide whether to do away with my old site and stick with just Etsy, or if to maintain both sites at the same time. Bear with!!

Right now you can order a small selection of fine art prints, a bunch of beautiful originals and my fabulous printed mugs, notebooks and greetings cards. You’ll also find my Beginner’s Papercutting Sets and a new addition – papercutting templates, for those of you who’re keen to try your crafty hand at my designs (instant download templates will be available soon, all templates are for personal use only).

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Of course, much of my time is still taken up with wonderful bespoke commissions, which are an absolute privilege to cut, and I’ll soon be adding slots for these to my Etsy shop once my order books are a little quieter. In the meantime, you can always email me to reserve your own commission slot via hello (at) holmesmadepapercuts (dot) com

I’ve also joined my local Etsy Team, so expect to hear news in the future about local events I’m taking part in alongside fellow Leeds-area Etsians.

I hope you like the new shop and find buying from it a pleasure! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any comments or suggestions (be kind, I’m completely new to Etsy!), I’d love to hear them.

That’s all for now,

Melissa

All images and words © Melissa Holmes :: holmesmadepapercuts, unless stated/otherwise credited. Please do not use, alter, copy or redistribute without my prior consent.

York Makers Spring Fair and papercutting workshop

york makers posterIn early May I took part in a fantastic event with York Makers, a collective of craftspeople, artists and designer-makers based in York. I had a stall upstairs in the lovely Clements Hall, selling my originals, prints, cards, notebooks and mugs, plus I hosted my very first Beginner’s Papercutting Workshop at the event.

The day was a huge success, with more than 400 people through the doors (it’s not really central, so that’s a great number!). There were lots of beautiful stalls downstairs in the main rooms (which I was unfortunately too busy to look at!).

Manning my stall – a rare quiet moment!

Manning my stall – a rare quiet moment!

My stall was really popular – people always love the chance to look at my detailed work up close – with a very busy “till” (i.e. tupperware box containing my float!) plus lots of enquiries about commissions too.

The pre-booked workshop was a hit. The attendees (who came from as far away as Doncaster, Lancashire and Derby!) really enjoyed themselves and went home with completed papercuts (some used my Holmes-made-designed templates while others drew their own) as well as Beginner’s Papercutting Sets. Oh, and full tummies from the delicious homemade cake on offer!!

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I’m currently in talks with a couple of local venues about hosting papercutting workshops with them in future, so please keep your eye on my online shop and Facebook page for more information. I’m also planning a number of other craft fairs and events for the rest of 2015. If you’d like to be notified of a future workshop or event, please sign up to my mailing list by clicking here.

I just love this photo of Steph as she pulled her finished papercut away from the paper!

I just love this photo of Steph as she pulled her finished papercut away from the paper!

All images and words © Melissa Holmes :: holmesmadepapercuts, unless stated/otherwise credited. Please do not use, alter, copy or redistribute without my prior consent.

Breathless with gratitude.

As I approach my fourth year of papercutting, I look back over the wild ride of the past three years since I first picked up a scalpel and “had a go”.

Gosh, it’s been a while since my last post, and a lot has been going on!! But as we approach Christmas and I take a quick breather from the commissions I’m working on which will be gifted on the 25th, I want to take a brief look back over this year.

From having the privilege of completing lots of beautiful personalised commissions to creating a number of new print designs, to launching my own website and online shop and taking part in the Small Business Saturday national bus tour, 2014 has really been a busy year for me!!

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Me with a local councillor and local small business owners in York City Centre as part of Small Business Saturday celebrations. Image courtesy of York City Council. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yorkcouncil/15795905416/in/set-72157649344248052/

In a few days’ time it’ll be exactly three years since I first picked up a scalpel to create a papercut. It was something that would change my life completely. I could never have imagined that within a few of months of starting I would have enough work to keep me going for three years!! The enquiries have continued, the gratitude-filled feedback from my customers just gets more and more heartwarming, and I’m forging links with clients and other businesses which are so supportive and beneficial to both me and my little company… And to others I hope!!

MAKE TODAY MARVELLOUS

A key element of what I do is about spreading joy. It’s one of my main reasons for doing what I do. Whether it’s a personalised family tree cut, a colourful print with a motivational quote or a charitable action (such as contributing a raffle prize to a DEC appeal fundraiser, or helping to raise £750 for Cancer Research UK), I want to use my skill and my reach to help create change. From my clients’ wonderful feedback, I know I am doing that. And it means so much – *so much* – that I am able to do that. I’ve made people I’ve never even met cry with the happy memories that feature in their bespoke commissions. I’ve helped others celebrate birthdays, marriages, civil partnerships, christenings, anniversaries and retirements through my work. My work has been used by my clients to mark a turning point in their lives, a new start, a chance to “Make Today Marvellous” and begin every day with a fresh start and a positive mindset as they glance at my work on their walls.

Do you know how amazing that feels? Can you possibly comprehend the feeling I get when a valued customer (who really doesn’t know me from Adam) opens their heart to me, spills out their soul and explains their motivation for buying an original, ordering a print or commissioning a piece? And so many of them do it – it’s something I could never have anticipated when I first started out three years ago.

And I am so grateful for it. So grateful.

You really are.

NOT ALL PLAIN SAILING

It sounds like 2014 has been a great year for me, and it has in so many respects. But, after a rocky start, I had a breakdown in March and hit rock bottom with my depression. Bad things were going on, work fell to the wayside and life felt incredibly tough. I didn’t open up about it on my blog, on my Facebook page or anywhere really. A tight-knit circle of online friends became my life raft; people to cling to when I felt I was drowning in my emotions, unable to function on the most basic of levels and really struggling to maintain the facade of the happy, joy-making artist. Simply getting by as a mummy, making it to preschool drop-offs or doing the weekly shop, was like dragging myself through wet cement.

This was my third or fourth bout of severe depression. It wasn’t until I posted a pic on my Instagram (a crumpled up tissue with a caption about anxiety and how it had such a control over my life) that I realised I was ok to talk about it. That by opening up a little, I was helping heal myself and also – amazingly – helping others. The tragic loss of Robin Williams saw many more people open up. I began to see a counsellor, I went to group sessions to discuss self-esteem and valuing yourself… Two proper breaks away, with sunshine, beaches and facing my fears and anxieties head on (I can’t tell you the terror I felt at the most basic everyday activities) have helped a lot. The support of friends and loved ones has helped a lot. Opening up about it (a little) to my social media followers helped a lot.

Feeling the love (and the fun!) with some of my online support network in real life in November 2014; an activity that I couldn't have even contemplated earlier in the year. Pictured with fellow small business owners and party types SoFire Creations, Emma Boyes Papercutting Artist, Sarah Travis Artist and Illustrator, Dolly Dearlove and halfpinthome

Feeling the love (and the fun!) with some of my online support network in real life in November 2014; an activity that I couldn’t have even contemplated earlier in the year. Pictured with fellow small business owners and arty types SoFire Creations, Emma Boyes Papercutting Artist, Sarah Travis Artist and Illustrator, Dolly Dearlove and halfpinthome

But mostly, it was down to me. I have had some serious revelations this year about my almost-lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety, and I am so proud of myself for turning it around. It’s taken a huge shift in thinking, in behaviour and in me, but I’m starting to find myself again, feel comfortable in my own skin and – quite simply – to love myself again. Cripes… Don’t I sound mega-cheesy?? But it’s how I feel.

PICK A PART THAT LOOKS GOOD

All of that is for another blog post really, but I wanted to share a little of it with you because it’s true we all have our struggles, our battles and our demons; and in this highly edited, Instagram-filtered, rose-tinted online life, it can be very easy to take things at face value and think everyone has it better than you; that everyone else’s life is more fun-filled, vibrant, picture-perfect and just ruddy perfect than your own. It’s not.

A real-life moment of pure joy; walking the dog with my daughter in Summer... No filters required.

A real-life moment of pure joy; walking the dog with my daughter in Summer… No filters required.

And it’s this that inspires me. Creating my art (although it can cause me a lot of headaches at times) makes other people happy, and it makes me happy too. I want to live my life authentically, to be true to myself and to create a life I love and that my family loves. These are my goals. I am so privileged to do what I do, and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

FULL STEAM AHEAD

2015 will be an exciting year for me. I’m already setting goals and making plans – something I’ve never really done before (being an expert at bumbling along!!). I have some interesting events coming up which will require a lot of work but could lead to great things, I’m going to be introducing new products and spreading my wings a little, and I’m going to focus more on taking care of myself and my family, as well as keeping my wonderful clients happy.

And although I guess I’ll always live with depression and anxiety, I’m now better equipped with the tools to cope with the bad patches and knockbacks. As a thank you for your support this year, I’m running a little giveaway over on my Facebook page, and will continue to run offers and reward customer loyalty with discount codes in 2015.

Here’s to a wonderful Christmas and New Year for all of my friends, family, customers and supporters. Let’s make 2015 marvellous.

Make Today Marvellous

Inspired by this post?? Want to share your own goals for 2015, or your own milestones of 2014? Feel free to leave a comment!!

Don’t forget I have commission slots available from May 2015 onwards, so if you’d like to commission a special piece, please drop me a line.

WORKSPACE WEDNESDAY :: Laciepaperie

This week’s Workspace Wednesday features the wonderful work of Laciepaperie – otherwise known as Saffa Barkhordar. When she’s not at her office-based day job, Saffa works from a studio at home, creating intricate papercut designs inspired by the patterns of Victorian lace and nature. Here, she shares some behind the scenes info about her workspace and approach to work. You can find further info on Laciepaperie in the links section at the end of this post. And don’t forget, if you’re a creative and you’d like to get involved with Workspace Wednesday to show holmesmadepapercut blog readers your corner of the world, get in touch!

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Tell us about your workspace.

My workspace is set in a little spare room of a house we are renting. It mainly consists of an Ikea desk in front of a window. Before that, I used to do my art work on the kitchen table but that was quite impractical so I’m really enjoying the extra space! I share the studio with my boyfriend Henry, who is a painter and uses the other side of the room. We’ve both been using the space for about seven months but will leave in a couple of months so I’m cherishing using it. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a studio space to do my papercutting and drawing in.

Workspace collage

How have you chosen to furnish your workspace?

I have a plain Ikea desk which is home to my cutting mat and equipment for papercutting and drawing. I don’t currently have any storage units, just lots of boxes under my desk containing my paper and materials. It’s not ideal but it’ll do for now!

And what about decoration?

Because it’s a rented place, I haven’t been able to put things on the walls but have instead placed meaningful objects around my desk. One of my favourite things is a self-portrait of my boyfriend Henry, which he painted. I also have loads of pencil cases and collections of paper everywhere. It’s quite a minimal space but has everything there for me to do my art work.

desk with boyf

What does your workspace mean to you? 

I love it. It’s wonderful to have a place to make my work in. It has natural light, so is very practical. I work part-time and feel lucky to have some time to make my art each week. My papercutting work is an escape from work and the ‘daily grind’. Last year, I was working two jobs and had no time to make anything so I feel lucky at the moment.

Do you have any rituals when it comes to your workspace?

If I have a day off from my regular job, I get up quite early (about 6am) slowly gain consciousness and bumble into my studio. After several cups of tea I tend to put Radio 4 on or some music and get started working on drawing or papercutting. I can spend several hours at a time working solidly on a piece – it is very absorbing. I tend to work in a creative mess – there are usually lots of different projects going on and lots of paper everywhere. I find papercutting quite relaxing and it helps me to let go of my worries, I can just focus on it and nothing else. It’s probably the time I feel most happy and free.

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What’s your one must-have tool in your workspace – the thing you use most of that you wouldn’t be able to do your job without?

All I need is some paper, a scalpel, a pencil and rubber.

What’s your favourite thing about your workspace? And least favourite?

I love my workspace as it’s quiet and all mine; no one else is using my table so I can leave out work and materials. My least favourite thing about it is that it’s quite small, the printer I have is right next to the table so it’s a bit cramped. I’d also love to have somewhere to put all my paper; some good storage to free up the space around the desk. But I’m so grateful at the moment to have a studio space that these things don’t feel that important really.

On that note – any plans for the future when it comes to your workspace?

As we are moving quite soon I don’t know what will happen, whether I’ll have a workspace in the future. I might end up on the kitchen table again! But I hope I can still rent somewhere with a space to make my work in, that would be ideal. I’ll keep going with my art no matter what. Determination is everything!

Check out more of Saffa’s work here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/laciepaperie

http://laciepaperie.blogspot.co.uk/

http://instagram.com/laciepaperie

Get involved!

Don’t forget, if you’re a creative type and fancy showing off your workspace, get in touch!