Cut Paper Design - bird mafia

Emily Brown of bird mafia in California has a highly detailed paper cutting style. Many of her wildlife designs show her affinity for making precise and tiny cuts. I love the way she arranged this grizzly's fur in such a way that not only do the rows convey texture, but even bring about a sense of movement.

Grizzly Paper Cutting

A self-taught artist, Emily told me she's always been passionate about drawing and has sketched nearly every day as far back as she can remember. When her husband began working with stencils in his own art work about five years ago, Emily took up his X-acto knife and played around with cutting paper, which turned out to work perfectly with her drawing style.

Owl in the Forest Paper Cutting

Some of Emily's cuttings have a touch of whimsy and others are composites of perfectly sliced straight lines and stacked semi-circles. For example, here's the Golden Gate Bridge spanning a map of the area.

Golden Gate Bridge Paper Cutting

She's a whiz at screen printing original paper cut designs on organic cotton tea towels and pillows, and also makes a variety of sophisticated animal "stuffies", as she calls them.

Racoon Stuffie and Pillow

In fact, at first Emily's paper cuttings were used primarily for screen printing, but recently she's turned to designing more shadow box scenes.

Fox and Grizzly Stuffies

You can read about Emily's paper cutting/screen printing process in this post on her blog, and see more of her work via her website, Facebook, and Etsy shop, bird mafia.

Waves Paper Cutting

A special thanks to loyal reader Michelle Noel who often sends along fab paper links. She introduced me to Emily's work via this LA Times article about her recent success at the Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair.

Treehouse Paper Cutting

bird mafia images by Jennifer Hogan of Ever Whim Photographs.
Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. This looks great. I will try to do it with a ceramic knife. Cross your fingers for me :)

  2. That tree house is to die for! I wish I had one where I could escape to sometimes. Great find!

  3. Her work is just wonderful! I especially love the bear and The Golden Gate Bridge.

  4. Totally digging the treehouse! Thanks, Ann! - Karren

  5. Emily's handmade paper cuts are adorable!! I love the way she uses maps, the animals and all her line work is very appealing. Very modern and fresh designs.

  6. I love Emily Brown's work. You're right her bear's fur does seem to convey movement. I like how she got into cut paper art via her husband and screen printing.

  7. Certainly brings a smile to everyone and also a WOW factor!
    Paper Hugs,


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