I create original and limited edition, literature-inspired, handmade ‘Paper Cuts’. My ‘Paper Cuts’ use real pages torn from real books. All are hand cut using my real hands.
If you have a commission enquiry, I would love to hear from you. Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Ultimately, I’m trying to solve a puzzle when creating a Paper Cut. There are 3 elements to this:
Find a great line from the book.
Locate a page in which I can cut out the letters of this great line.
Cut out an image that mirrors one of the book’s themes.
Challenge 1 & 2. The Line & Page
These two elements often go hand-in-hand. I will spend some time researching the novel in order to identify a stand-out line; something that resonates. This could be influenced by popular quotes or lines that are personal to me.
The choice of page is just as important. It could be the first page, the last page, an opening chapter, or a page that reflects a theme I’m trying to capture. For example, this image is page 231 from The Hobbit. It’s the page in which Smaug the Dragon is shot down by Bard the Bowman. It’s perfect when you combine it with cut out dragon and the line “So comes snow after fire and even dragons have their endings.” There is balance between all 3 elements.
When trying to cut out the letters of that great line, the letters must be removed and stay in the order they appeared on the page. This is an unbreakable rule and one that often causes tears! The letters can’t just come from anywhere. It’s not an anagram. This is never easy when considering that I often cut out large sections of the page to craft a thematic image. Sometimes I just can’t get the letters out in order and have to find a new page to start over.
[at the time of writing, Murakami’s evocative and moving novel Norwegian Wood is my sworn enemy. I can’t find a single page to use. I’ve gone through at least 25 pages and I always run out of letters. But I’ll crack it]
To further complicate things, I try to avoid removing entire words, because I want to read the finished page from start to finish and be able to work out the missing letters along the way that make up the great line I’ve cut out. There have been occassions where a ‘J’ prevents this! Damn those Js!
Sometimes I remove all the letters!
“Freedom 246” from George Orwell’s 1984
Challenge 3. The Theme
After cutting out the letters I hand cut an image from the page. A visualisation of one of the book’s themes. This is equally as challenging as finding and removing the letters as I have to be sure to leave the cut out letters intact on the page. Again, there are times when I just can’t combine the order of letters with the image. Back to finding a new page!
The symbolic fig from The Bell Jar, Slyvia Plath (above).
I transfer the cut out letters and imagery very carefully and assemble. This is the most time-consuming and precarious part of the process. I sneezed once: Jane Austen went all over the place.
The final step before adding to my shop. I photograph all my work.
Double Paper Cuts
The most complicated and poetic pieces are my ‘Double Paper Cuts’. I create these by transferring the disected letters and imagery from the page to a separate board. Each work is a mirror of the other: born from a single page to make two striking and unique works.
Do you have a favourite book and would like to discuss a commission for a print or original work?
This could include a fine art print from my existing collection with a name of your choice at the top of the page and a memorable date as the page number.Or an original piece made from a book of your choice.
This can vary depending on the complexity and scope of the piece. However, prices typically start from
£300 - £400
Please get in touch using the contact form below.