Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kevin Stanton - Paper-Cut Artist

There's no shortage of talent in this world and Kevin Stanton is proof of that. He's an illustrator and paper cutter I've had my eye on for a while now... I landed on his blog and spied his memorable business cards. Coolest cards ever - for sure you'd think twice before tossing away one of these hand cut beauties.

Kevin is a recent graduate of Pratt Institute for Illustration and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He has lots of interests, including music and plants, both of which are evident in quite a few of his designs.

As a fan of singer Corinne Bailey Rae, I definitely relate to this piece. Check out the fine detail of her knitted sweater that plays so well against the angular cuts of her hair and features.

Actually, Kevin has done a whole series of cut paper portraits that you can find on his blog, The Great Windmill. Many are musicians, but fashion designer/film director Tom Ford caught my eye too... great resemblance!

Kevin is always up for a challenge and enjoys working in different mediums.

For this monarch / lion design, he combined watercolor paper with flat paper as an experimental sketchbook page. And here's a lovely and subtle woodblock print. To Do lists have never looked so classy.

A proposal he designed recently for a book cover.

Not your run of the mill seed packets!

My very favorite of Kevin's work so far though, is this piece based on a painting by French artist, Fragonard, which is composed of paper strips.

Clearly I've not tapped the full potential of my box of tangled quilling strips!

Read an interesting interview with Kevin at Walking in Public.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How About Orange Inspiration

Perhaps you're familiar with the popular blog, How About Orange. Jessica Jones is a graphic and textile designer with a flair for writing about crafty topics that inspire. Often she posts tutorials of her own clever projects, and also spotlights free digital downloads and funny, little quizzes she unearths around the web.

Recently Jessica unveiled a new line of ribbons that feature her own bright designs and my first thought was that the whimsical flowers would be perfect to translate into a quilled card design. I couldn't refrain from giving them a try over the weekend.

Thanks Jessica, for allowing me to show the result here - your fantasy flowers are a much-needed taste of spring. I chose the ribbon color with you in mind, of course!

I'm sure you all know this, but want to be clear that when you use the original design of another, ask for permission. As long as you won't be making something with it for anything other than your own personal use, it's usually fine, but please take the time to check.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Coiling Collection Furniture - Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay

Via a Tweet from @Patricia_Zapata, author of the stylish book, Home, Paper, Scissors, I loved seeing this collection of coiled furniture designed by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay, which was exhibited recently in FAT Gallerie in Paris.

The award-winning duo works from their London studio, Raw Edges Design. Granted, the full-scale furniture isn't paper - instead, it's durable wool felt combined with wood and an exterior coating of resin, but I'm picturing miniature furniture created in similar style with quilling strips - same goes for the looped rug.

Click through close up images of the colorful collection at Raw Edges Design Studio. There's also a cute, quick interview with Yael and Shay on [edit: no longer available] in which they are asked, "If you could design in only one material forever, what would it be?" Care to guess their answer?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paper Quilling - The Pretties by Rebekah Holguin

Recently I came across the stylish work of Rebekah Holguin [edit: shop is no longer active] via Pinterest. She has an approach to quilling that I find fresh and appealing.

Rebekah combines printed pages and bright colors with common quilling techniques, like fringed flowers and rolled tight coils, to great effect. And of course it doesn't hurt that her photographs are lovely.

I had a feeling it would be fun to interview Rebekah and wasn't disappointed. Read on to hear about her intriguing career... first and foremost she's a conceptual artist with experience working for a major film design studio despite her young age.

How did you happen to begin quilling?

I started almost six months ago. I'd never even heard of quilling before then, but noticed a piece of quilled art at my mother-in-law's house. I quickly became interested and learned there are tools, but never bought any - I figured I'd work it out for myself and am still very much learning.

You jumped into opening your Etsy shop, The Pretties, fairly quickly then, and it's doing well - congratulations!

I opened it solely to sell my illustrations and then decided I might add a bit of jewelry... maybe some coils of bright paper, then quilled flowers....whatever idea hit me. Etsy is definitely not a full-time job, but it might turn into one down the line. My freelance illustrating work is what takes most of my time; I'm illustrating two children's books right now.

Do you have formal art training?

Not exactly, no. I did an internship while in high school for the New Zealand film studio, Weta Workshop, that made Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Avatar, etc., and was hired to stay on as a film designer after graduation. You could say I more or less learned on the job.

You moved fairly recently to California?

Yes, I married an American, and came to live out here from New Zealand. I began my Etsy shop because I didn't have a work visa and was bored out of my brain! A friend opened an Etsy jewelry shop - I realized it's the best community and had to get involved. I never thought people would like the things I make - its a cool feeling! I also never thought I'd be doing this, but life's weird that way.

Do you plan to sell your products in brick and mortar stores?

I've sold a few things to boutique shop owners, but nothing serious at this stage. Being new to the country, I'm still learning what's what. Some of my stuff is a bit Anthropologie-esque, so a boutique that carries things like that would be the goal.

You might enjoy this interesting interview [edit: no longer available] about Rebekah's conceptual art and what it was like working as a film designer for Weta Workshop just out of high school, not to mention being the only female at the time.

Rebekah's illustrative and conceptual art website [edit: no longer available].

Monday, March 21, 2011

Colorstory Designs

Designers Amy Gibson (in Seattle) and Andrea Read (in Missouri) of Colorstory Designs delight in repurposing discarded magazines and other paper products.

Since 2008 they have been creating stylish, one-of-a-kind home decor items as a way of being good to the environment, as well as bringing pleasure to those who enjoy their products.

The ideas are simple, yet trendy, and each would make a statement in a modern setting. It's remarkable how many different art pieces Amy and Andrea have developed that use ordinary strips of glossy magazine pages to great effect.

This layered nautical compass design has a background composed of magazine strips and the dimensional compass is cut from heavy white cardstock.

When Colorstory Designs first launched, Amy and Andrea lived down the street from one another. Each had a full-time day job, so evenings and weekends were reserved for developing their product line.

In the beginning there was lots of collaborating on ideas, but once they settled on a brand and "look", their products quickly began to fall into place. "We've always said that it's convenient that we're best friends first, because we often combined shopping trips with business meetings!"

I think this picture frame has such a pretty color gradation.... and they do a similar, eye-catching framed mirror.

Round, glass magnets are super popular now and with good reason - who can resist handling - ahem - playing with them?

Amy and Andrea created this clever perpetual calendar that makes use of glass magnets. Numbers and letters have been cut from - you guessed it - magazine pages.

Visit ColorstoryDesigns on Etsy. Find their products in person at Stoopher and Boots in New York, NY or The Black Schooner in Ocracoke, North Carolina. They are also listed in Sound Trading Co., a cool Seattle online registry of handmade and recycled gifts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Paper Cut Skeleton Key

Yes, I do love the mystery of an antique key... hmm, what did it unlock and who was the owner?

It's no surprise then, that I would gravitate toward this lovely-in-its-simplicity greeting card.

Nastasya and Zdrok operate a small paper cutting studio in Kiev, Ukraine where they make a variety of cards and art pieces by hand, both commercial and custom. Visit their Etsy shop, Mimimi Cards, to see more of their elegant designs. It hasn't been open very long at all, but is already proving to be quite popular.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Palomaria Jewelry

Melina Szapiro uses recycled newspapers to create an intriguing line of rustic jewelry.

She blends ordinary newspaper into a fine paste, then uses metal plates to imprint delicate textures in the clay-like substance. After the material has air dried, Melina trims, sands, paints, and seals each piece by hand.

click for a closer look

I asked Melina to tell us how she came to make these lovely medallions and beads:

I was at University in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying fashion design. There was a young couple - a sculptor (he) and an etching artist and paper maker (she) - who lived across from my house. They had turned their old bakery space into a great art studio and fascinated me with their artistic ways.

One day I knocked on their door to see if they would take me as a student. There I learned paper making techniques, binding, and several paper-related crafts. I immediately recognized it was The Thing for me and started to find the way to make paper my means of living.

In the next years I developed PapelVivo, a line of handmade paper stationery. When I moved to Canada, I continued it with necessary adaptations to the North American market.

At the same time I've been always painting, making art dolls, and many other crafts. Everything brought me to paper jewelry which is my focus now.

It is the natural development of all my interests: paper making, recycling, painting, and design... not to mention all those years of fashion design studies that finally combine into the puzzle of my life.

Visit Melina's Etsy shops, Palomaria and Palomaria Whisper to see a wide array of paper jewelry. Follow her adventures at Palomaria, Art + Life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Silver Filigree / Letterpress Giveaway!

***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Scroll down to see who won!***

Charmaine Gerada, whose exquisite and authentic Maltese silver jewelry you might remember from a previous post, recently opened an Etsy shop called Truly Filigree. To mark the occasion, she's giving away this sterling silver flower charm that looks so much like a quilled paper flower, only better!

It's amazing to me that anyone is able to shape such fine strands of silver so perfectly by hand, but Charmaine is a true master of her craft. The charm measures just shy of 3/4 inch in diameter and has a red Swarovski crystal in the center. It would be a beautiful addition to a charm bracelet or perfect as a necklace pendant for a young girl.

View a fascinating, very quick video here that shows Charmaine at work, making a filigree logo for Banif Bank Malta. I think you'll enjoy it.

The second part of the giveaway is a packet of letterpress gift tags made by Melissa Bilyeu of Etsy shop, Paper Ink Press. You might remember a feature I did last year about the popularity of letterpress and Melissa's enthusiasm for her antique press. She designs all sorts of wonderful cards and invitations in both elegant and whimsical styles. This is a set of fifteen tags, with designs pressed on rich, thick white and ivory paper.

To enter, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Mentioning the giveaway on your own site or via Facebook or Twitter will count as up to three extra entries... state in your comment how many of these things you have done.

Giveaway ends at the end of Friday, March 18th. The randomly chosen winner will be announced on this post the next day and that person will receive both prizes. Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to Yuenie of Malaysia, comment #69, as selected by Yuenie, I will be mailing the charm and gift tags to you very soon - enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paper Boutonnieres

This week's Fab Friday image is a box of boutonnieres made by Cheryl of Wire and Paper in Australia.

image by Anna Rose Photography

The elegant mulberry paper roses, each with a world map leaf attached, remind me so much of the crocuses that will soon be blooming here in the chilly northeastern U.S. Come on, spring!

Cheryl makes beautiful paper flowers for weddings and other significant occasions and will even incorporate your own meaningful papers, such as the text from a love letter or wrapping paper from a special gift.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mind Design - Znips

There seems to be no shortage of clever things that can be done with unwanted books. Case in point...

I'm liking this large art piece that London graphic design team, Mind Design, created as wall decor for Znips, a hair and beauty salon in Central London. The shaped books are likely to be in sync with clients' thoughts as they sit and ponder new hair styles.

Curved books tie in nicely with the rounded letters of the Znips logo, also designed by Mind Design.

The salon's brochure is in unison with the decor and logo as well.

All project photography by Mind Design, used with permission.

Found via Pinterest.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fringed Flower Pendant Lamp

Are you familiar with Young House Love? Until a couple of months ago I wasn't, but since then I've been enjoying following along with the lives and home decor projects of the young couple who are in love with one another and their new-to-them house. Utterly adorable, and engaging writers to boot, John and Sherry have managed to turn a blogging venture into full-time jobs. They spend their days doing things the rest of us might cram into weekends, photographing each step of the process, and then writing about it all in an appealing manner.

You know me... always on the lookout for a reason to tell you about sites I enjoy. Needless to say I was thrilled when John regaled readers last week with the story of selecting, installing, and making peace with a pretty incredible light fixture for their bedroom ceiling.

Guess what? It's made of paper! Lots and lots of fringed flowers come packed in little boxes so the petals will be curved in just the right shape on arrival - how smart of the folks at IKEA. Yes, IKEA! This is one cool paper project you don't have to make from scratch.


Read more about the assembly and hanging of the lamp (actually much more... John and Sherry are all about details!) here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Folded Paper Bird

Last week I embarked on a new series... a simple post each Friday that shows an image of something during the week that delighted me, and I hope you also.

The husband emailed this photo of a snow bird to me when he was in Japan recently. He promises there are more paper-related pics on his camera, a few of which are sure to be fodder for a blog post. Will his idea of a great topic mesh with mine? We'll find out!

He thought it was pretty funny when I asked in all innocence if he had folded the bird. The short answer was no... it was a little gift from his host in Akita, but he did trudge outside in the twilight to photograph it, proving there's more than one way to express yourself creatively.

Speaking of origami birds, you might enjoy checking out the cool mobile that Allison is working on. Inspired by Vanille's colorful, rolled paper mobile, she's adding a folded crane for each pound she loses - a clever incentive to make reaching her goal weight even more satisfying.

Find excellent instructions to make a peace crane or flapping bird at and have a Fab Friday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paper Stitch

Before I became a paper aficionado, chances are good you would have found me with needle and thread in hand. Not only was I caught up in the counted cross stitch craze that swept the nation, but I did crewel work, needlepoint, and made clothes and curtains. I even spent a summer during college embroidering an elaborate design on a shirt for my long-haired-hippie-freak boyfriend, now the husband. (See, Dad? These things usually work out just fine.)

But until I came across the work of Jessica A. Kelly of Paper Stitch, I had never thought of embroidering on book pages. What she does is impressive, especially to math-challenged folks like myself. Jessica combines her love of numbers, patterns, symmetry, and margin doodling by creating one of a kind embroideries on vintage textbook pages.

She was born into a family of self-taught crafters, but hasn't been stitching for very long. One day Jessica noticed line drawings while flipping through a math book from the mid-1800s that she had bought for fifty cents.

At first Jessica tried following outlines with her stitches, but wasn't satisfied (though I rather like the red apples!)

Next she began doodling as she often does in book margins, but instead spread her doodles across the entire page... and the idea for a graph series was born. I'm picturing a set of these geometrics matted, framed, and hung as a clustered grouping.

Here Jessica used the data on a page that showed compound interest on $1 at 3-8% and graphed the curves as a stitched pattern.

And this next one is a graph of K3.3 from one of her old math textbooks. And if K3.3 means something to you, you are obviously lots farther along in your math education than I.

Jessica's work is available in her recently opened Etsy shop, Paper Stitch. If you would like to give embroidering on paper a try, she's posted some helpful tips. At the moment Jessica is working on mostly non-paper pieces referencing the 1930s, though she's sure some paper pieces will work their way into the mix.

By the way, thanks so much for the lovely messages about the site redesign. Today is my second blogiversary (hard to believe!) and it feels really good to have a fresh look to mark the occasion.
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