Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why I Love Paper

Ever since I was a kid, I'm already turning a simple piece of paper into something extraordinary. I remember making paper dolls, complete with fashionable clothes, accessories and doll houses. I also make paper fans, bookmarks, greeting cards, envelopes and decorative letters for my friends and family that I artfully roll/stitch together/fold into hearts, stars, clothes, etc. Most of the time, I make paper toys and accessories for myself, sometimes I gift it to close friends, other times (mostly on summer vacations), I make and sell them to my cousins. I remember selling paper bookmarks for Php 2.00 each and my cousins usually bought all of them. Haha! Come to think of it, I already have entrepreneurial skills ever since I was a kid. :)

I love paper as an art medium for so many reasons. It is light. It is simple. It is easy to manipulate. It has a lot of potential depending on the artist's imagination/creativity,skill, craftsmanship, passion and patience. 
This is a paper flower  I made out of acid free paper.
I made this as accent for a wedding keepsake
 I made for a friend. Each petal has their monogram dry seal. 

From a simple sheet or roll, to an amazing piece of artwork that gives joy to both the producer (artist) and consumer (audience/client). It is truly amazing how an unassuming piece of paper, turned into something delicate and precious can excite and awaken the creative, imaginative and happy kid in all of us. 

One can cut it, fold it, twist it, roll it , mache it, laminate it or make a combination of all these, etc. Adjectives to describe how paper are manipulated depends on the producers' (artist) and consumers' (audience/client) perspectives. For example, the craft of paper cutting may be described as 'simple and therapeutic' by a papercut artist while it may and usually be perceived as a tedious-and-complicated-but-undeniably-amazing craft by consumers/audience/clients.

I have been a full time papercut artist for over a year now. I started in the first quarter of 2014, and I can say that  I am happy with the skill level I've achieved so far. I'm not saying that I've already gained a 'master-level' in this craft. All I'm saying is that I'm happy with the progress I've attained. Looking back at my early papercut artworks and comparing them to my recent works, I'm proud to say that I've improved a lot.

Here is a screen shot of my cousins' (Wico and Altina Baltazar of save the date video that I used as basis for the papercut I gifted them for their wedding.
This is the papercut version of the above screen shot. Notice that my cuts are not yet that detailed and intricate.
I did this back in 2012.

Fast forward to 2014, this is a wedding papercut I did last October, of the same year, for a client in Australia.

As with all things, it is really about progress and not about perfection. I attribute these improvements to the values (as enumerated below) I learned and developed from working with paper. 

  1. Gentleness - One must be gentle enough to shape a delicate medium like paper.
  2. Patience -  Most techniques applied to paper are 'tedious', so one needs to stretch his/her patience to develop the skills needed to produce great work.
  3. Ingenuity - When a boo boo happens, one needs to have a ton of this trait to be able to work around a mistake and still produce a work of great quality and value. And I repeat, it's really not about perfection. A boo boo adds character to the artwork and it humanizes the artist. An imperfect art is beautiful.
  4. Humility & Perseverance - When a mistake is severe and the only acceptable remedy is to have the     artwork redone, one must be humble & persevering enough to accept the situation  and start all        over again, this time wiser and more careful. 
  5. Work with Zest - "Do it with passion or not at all." By working with paper, my favorite medium, I realized and learned that the reason I produce great work is because I do it with zest. I pour my heart and soul into every paper craft I do and I make sure that that same joy I experience in      creating reaches the heart of my consumers (audience/clients) as well.
I hope that my love of paper (somehow) inspires you to create or at least appreciate beautiful works of art  made of paper. Share your comments below! :)

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