Kelly Pousette captures storybook scenes in paper dioramas. The shadowbox illustrations are vignettes that chronicle the adventures of a small fox as it traverses wintery scenes, naps by a cozy fire, and enjoys the beauty of blooms.
Juliette Sallin, aka Gang of Freyja, is an illustrator and cut paper artist who works on a miniature scale. She’s recently created a series of “pocket talisman,” which feature stylized hands and paper flowers encased in small glass jars. The exquisite creations are small enough to fit between two fingers—and put in your pocket for good luck. “I like to think of my paper cuts as tiny treasures that reveal a secret we all carry deep inside,” she says. “[That] our innate relationship with our world is lighthearted and sensuous.”
If you’ve read Brown Paper Bag for a while, you already know that I’m a big fan of 100 day projects. I love the dedication that comes with it, as well as the creative magic that can happen when you explore a single topic in so many ways. Over the next two days, I’ll share a couple of 100 day projects that have recently caught my eye.
Out of all the approaches to image making, cut paper illustration is my favorite. The process is often a tedious one, but the results are awe-inspiring. Paper can quickly transform from a 2D composition into 3D, and these types of illustrations have the look of sculptures with elements that cast shadows. This visual depth is the best part of about paper illustration. In addition, it gives you a distinct feeling that the piece is made by hand, and that the meticulous snips of the scissors or the slice of an X-Acto knife were all part of the journey into creating the final result.
If you’re still feeling down about recent events (I know I am), Grace Chin offers a beautiful pick-me-up with her empowering floral wreaths. Combining paper craft with text, she creates delicate faux flowers and arranges them onto a circular form. In the middle of it, she places cut-paper letters phrases like “All bodies are good bodies” and “Be brave.”
My work is inextricably tied to my passion for intersectional feminism and fighting negative forces— both political and personal—with words. I sincerely believe in the power of internalizing and imbibing positive messages. In particular, I’m in search of pithy, compelling statements that are meant to occupy primarily domestic spaces and serve as daily reminders.
Compositionally, I take influence from the Dutch tradition of pronkstilleven (decadent still life painting), as well as outsider and American folk art. In positioning myself firmly between craft and art traditions, I hope to do what many women artists and artisans did before me: create beautiful everyday objects that also serve some usefulness beyond their aesthetic value.
Grace sells her work (including these wreaths!) through her online shop.
For the past week, I’ve continually admired the cut paper illustrations of Irene Servillo. It might come as no surprise—after all, her work is crafted out of collage, my favorite medium. Using cut paper and drawing, Irene creates stylized figures and scenes by employing colorful, eye-pleasing shapes that intermingle throughout the composition.
Cameron Garland crafts tiny terrariums you can hold in the palm of your hand. The intricately detailed cut-paper creations showcase minuscule succulents thriving in golden geometric planters that I wish I owned. A combination of collage and drawing, they resemble the real thing—a big trend in decor—sans the mess. Sounds good to me!
I’ve never been to It’s a Small World in Disneyland, but I’ve always admired Mary Blair’s version that features stylized buildings constructed out of simple, colorful shapes. It’s this aesthetic that instantly drew me to the cut-paper works of Ultralazer, a collaborative project from two France-based makers named Maxence and Pauline.
Together, Maxence and Pauline create playful scenes that you can hold in the palm of your hand. I’m partial to their castles, but nature scenes are common, too. Regardless of the landscape, each is crafted with a stunning attention to detail.
Illustrator Molly Costello crafts compelling portraiture from cut paper. The exquisite compositions—powerful in their simplicity—are informed by her years “working on urban youth programming around sustainability and social injustice,” reflecting the themes she encountered during that time: community, struggle, love, and more. “Through my work I focus on ideas of connectedness,” she writes, “connectedness with our whole selves, with each other, our communities, its systems, the natural world, and the energy and divine of our universe at large.”
Molly sells prints of her work on Etsy!
Illustrator Malin Koort creates charming characters out of cut paper. Her work features elements of 2D and 3D design—most notably, she’ll fold paper and casts its shadows onto the composition. This produces the illusion that they’re really sitting. Surface patterns—on clothing, in hair, etc—are otherwise drawn onto the figures. Coupled with bright colors, these two approaches give her work a fresh and playful feel with the best of both flat and tactile worlds.