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Meet the Maker: Kate Thornton

Meet the Maker: Kate Thornton

15

August 2017

author: Hannah Burgess

This month's botanical themed paper-cutting kit got us inspired to get in touch with a true paper-cutting professional. Earlier in the month we caught up with Kate, of Kate Thornton Design, a Yorkshire-based artist producing wonderful stationary, cards and prints. We asked her all about the art of paper-cutting, how she creates her work and what inspires her most! Have a read of what Kate told us about her lovely craft and maybe take a few tips for your own paper creations...
"I love the way you can change the context of the material so quickly, transforming it into something else."

How did you first get into paper-cutting art?

I've always enjoyed working in a precise and graphic way but never really with paper. About 10 years ago I started making some handmade greetings cards with old maps and postcards which I'd inherited from my grandad. I was using the materials I had around me and it was a lot less messy than paint, it just grew from there.

Can you tell us how your first paper-cutting project went?

I spent weeks making handmade cards for a selling event using vintage postcards and coloured paper backgrounds, cutting all the templates as well as the finished silhouettes. I was really pleased with them but I made the mistake of selling them at the price of a regular printed card! No wonder I practically sold out. A useful lesson in selling learnt early on thankfully.
"Most of my ideas for the content of my work come from my love of birds and the natural world. I also love architecture and surface pattern."

What do you love most about working with paper?

I love the way you can change the context of the material so quickly, transforming it into something else. I also like the very 2D nature of paper but the way you can layer it up to create a sense of depth and space. I've never really worked in 3D so paper suits me well.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your work?

Most of my ideas for the content of my work come from my love of birds and the natural world. I also love architecture and surface pattern. I got the idea of using flat colour backgrounds and a neutral band at the bottom of my images to mimic a horizon from art deco posters. Stylistically I think I've developed my own way of working and I think my work is quite recognisable. However I follow the work of lots of different people working in different disciplines so I'm sure I gain inspiration from them.
"Get to know the material you are cutting as different papers require different amounts of pressure and care when cutting."

Any advice or tips for those starting to experiment with paper-cutting methods?

Get to know the material you are cutting as different papers require different amounts of pressure and care when cutting. I use the snap off blade type knives and good scissors. Measure twice, cut once. Oh and get a first aid kit full of plasters just in case. Though touch wood I haven't cut myself yet.

What current projects are you working on, or any future ones you can share with us?

I'm just in the process of making five original papercuts for an exhibition called Paper Dreams at the Masham Gallery in North Yorkshire. I've made work on the theme of bird migration, featuring species such as Arctic Terns, Brent Geese and Hoopoes. It's been great to get back in to making original work again since the birth of my daughter 4 months ago.

You can find out more about Kate's work and where to find it at Kate Thornton Designs and you'll find Kate's Instagram at @katethorntondesign

All photos: Kate Thornton

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