Book and Botanical Inspired Paper Art by Cafe Paperie

When I first spotted the paper art of Karen Lampard, I admired her eye for detail and the care she puts into creating beautiful things with simple supplies, often including upcycled paper.The photos she shares on Instagram enticed me to reach out and ask if she would tell us about her art journey. I'm happy to say she agreed... so enjoy!

Paper sailing ship made of upcycled vintage paper

"I live in San Diego, California and my little studio is called Cafe Paperie. I make small batch, one of a kind accessories, mostly from paper, that can include many things.... whatever I think up, usually over a pot of coffee, hence the Cafe name.

Folded book teacup and teapot with decorative elements and patterned paper handles, spout and base 

I've been creating with paper since elementary school when they used to get me out of class to design the office bulletin boards. Those days of cutting into large sheets of construction paper really fueled my passion for paper. Though I have a degree in Interior Design, I found I had to be making something with my own hands to truly be happy.

Crepe paper sweet pea bouquet in peach, pink, and deep pink

Over the years I've found that nothing compares to transforming a piece of flat paper: designing, cutting, constructing, (often de-constructing it) into a dimensional piece. For a long time I had large stockpiles of every type, color and weight of paper. Now though, I try to use more found paper: text, maps or recycled books.

Yellowed vintage paper book page chess piece sculptures

I love watercolor paper for its weight, perfect for making forms or patterns. Give me an old book and an X-acto knife and I can be happy making miniature cuts or folds for hours on end.

Cluster of sweet pea crepe paper flowers on vintage black tray

This part of my work fascinates me... how to make it work... how to connect the pieces... how to tell its story. I'm not so interested in making perfect or hyperrealistic pieces. I rather like the feel or the "hand" of the maker to show. I 'm also a little slower in bringing something new to light.

Vintage yellowed paper laced bodice with paper flowers across neckline 

I don't waste time on something I don't love. I want each piece I make, whether it's a simple flower or a complex sculpture, to have its own voice and to connect with my customer. If I love it and love making it, I think that comes through in the finished piece.

Spinning White Watercolor Paper Carousel with Reindeer

I tend to approach my work by thinking of themes... an idea I can build a little collection around. It can follow the seasons or be totally random and frivolous. A recent favorite was a Winter Carnival collection of a working ferris wheel and a spinning carousel, both from watercolor paper.

Faux Succulents Placed on Two Vintage Books

After years of selling my work to other stores and taking special orders, I now focus on my Cafe Paperie Etsy shop, and a showcase in a popular local store. Scaling back allows me time to play with new ideas and try new techniques.

Wooden 3D Stick Figure Holding Paper Sweet Pea Bouquet

The last few years I've been making monthly deliveries of my paper flowers to our local hospital. The cancer ward allows these crepe paper bouquets, and it's become a highlight of my career both personally and professionally. Few things I make compare with the feeling of brightening a patient's day in this simple way.

Folded Book Teacup with Jewel Top and Patterned Paper Saucer

I'm so excited and honored to be an artist... to start each day with a cup of coffee and a fresh idea. I'm a total introvert so my quiet studio time is both comfortable and necessary. I guess creating and sharing my work is my way of connecting with others in a physical way."

Crepe Paper Roses with Buds in Shades of Peach

Aren't Karen's words an inspiring way to start the week? I found myself nodding along in agreement as I read them. Connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook; also via Etsy at Cafe Paperie.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Ohmygoodnesss, awesome, especially love the sail boat and corset!

  2. Hi would you have the pattern for the coffee pot and cup please. My friend collects anything blue and white and I know she would love this.

    1. Hi Anon, Ann here... blog owner. Unfortunately it appears that Karen Lampard is no longer active on Etsy or social media to ask her for help, but I found a good tutorial on YouTube for making a folded book pot. She has a tea cup video too. There is also a pattern available on Etsy for each: and


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