Into the Dark Woods: An Illustrated Art Book by Su Blackwell

As a longtime admirer of paper artist Su Blackwell's altered book paper sculptures, I read with interest about her ambitious new project, Into the Dark Woods: An Illustrated Art Book by Su Blackwell. One very cool thing about it (and there are many!) is that she has set it up as a Kickstarter campaign... if you choose to participate, you'll be a crucial part of the process as she goes about bringing her vision to life in the coming months.

five examples of Su Blackwell's altered book art
Into the Dark Woods invites you on an enchanting journey through fairy tales. 
Lavishly illustrated, paper-cutting book for all ages.

Su explains, I feel very passionate about this book as it is such a personal project, which is why I have decided to try crowdfunding rather than a publisher. The book will be an anthology of seven fairy tales, part illustrated, part paper-crafting activity book, aimed at adults and older children.

altered book art fairy tale night scene with trees, owl and young girl in red cloak

The concept is that you'll be able to explore fairy tales in a hands-on way. Whilst the book will contain beautiful inspirational photographs of my artwork to illustrate the fairy tales, there will also be perforated templates of my designs printed inside the book for you to make paper effigies from the fairy tales themselves, such as a paper shoe, a rose, a diamond ring.

examples of the types of projects in a fairy tale altered book project

There will be seven different templates in total (one for each of the seven fairy tales), ranging from simple to more challenging designs. There will be tips and instructions and a step-by-step guide. All you'll need is a pair of scissors and glue!

Via her Instagram feed (@sublackwellstudio) Su recently shared this example of an extraordinary paper shirt that will be one of the template projects. You'll learn to crinkle paper so it looks like fabric and how to treat paper to keep its shape.

tiny white button-up shirt made of paper

This miniature paper rose sculpture will be another project.

miniature red rose paper sculpture made from a book page and held in a hand palm.

I don't doubt for a moment that Into the Dark Woods will be a beautiful book. As Su describes it... I endeavor to find the best printers to print on the highest quality paper available. With blinding binding to boot, beautiful decorative cover, coloured endpapers, ribbon marker. There will be no expenses spared in making this a rich and sumptuous volume.

altered book art scene with trees, tiny house and boy and girl made of book page paper

Original signed postcards, prints, online workshops and book sculptures serve as rewards for making a pledge. At the very least, I know you'll enjoy a browse through the enticing images and explanations that Su has posted on the Into the Dark Woods Kickstarter page. And don't miss the wonderful video in which she is interviewed by her six year old daughter!

package of stickers featuring Su Blackwell's book art 

As a special incentive for All Things Paper readers, Su will create an exclusive sticker pack (similar to the ones she did in the image above for Roger La Borde's stationery range) with stickers featuring artwork from the book for a pledge of £10 or more. Type code All Things Paper in the message box when you make a pledge.

lighted altered book art paper sculpture showing trees, treehouses and a ladder

To see more of Su's work, she has frequently been featured on this blog - for example, this post about a gorgeous paper mosque sculpture created on-site at an Abu Dahbi luxury hotel, and as recently as my round up of popular paper art for gift giving in which her 2019 calendar is included.


Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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