Forget adult colouring books – papercutting is the new craze. And local artist Boo Paterson has been creating works out of paper since she was a child, attracted by its texture, strength and adaptability.
“My parents always gave me beautifully illustrated books to read, as well as pop-up books, and put a great emphasis on the importance of art,” recalls Boo. “Because of that encouragement, art was always in my life – even when I was doing other things.”
“Other things” included journalism, producing cabaret, managing musicians, PR and running away to be a circus ringmaster. But nothing quite hit the creative spot.
“I kept doing the odd art commission – usually paintings and stained glass – but when you have a full-time job, you never end up doing your passion, because you don’t have time…and you’re always knackered,” she says.
“In the end, I started doing the thing I should have done from the start: art.”
Boo has poured all her artistic passion and expertise into Papercut This Book, which was published last month.
“I was getting lots of people saying they would love to have a go at papercutting but couldn’t work out how to do it,” explains Boo. “I was mulling this over when a friend texted asking if there was a book that could teach you papercutting if you couldn’t draw – that was my eureka moment.
“I knew that a book with instructions, templates and the correct type of paper for cutting would solve that problem.”
The book, full of jungle animals to papercut, is aimed at adults who want something relaxing and absorbing to do while ending up with a piece of artwork that can be framed. “You don’t need to be good at art – the cuts start off easy and get harder as you go through the book, so you will naturally increase your skill as you go along,” says Boo.
And you don’t need tons of fancy equipment, just a cutting mat, masking tape, scalpel and blades, and foam squares for mounting, all inexpensive and readily available from art shops.
It’s refreshing in this digital age to see a return to simple crafts and Boo reckons that people are fed up with being stuck in front of screens all the time.
“People know most screen time is wasted time, and I think they want to do something creative that’s also stress relieving,” she says.
“Traditionally, crafts have always had a renaissance during times of recession, as people yearn for a gentler age and an escape from reality. And when people don’t have much spare cash and can’t afford to go out, they’ll stay in and create something instead.
“I also think that it’s good for people’s self-esteem to learn a new skill and gain mastery over it.
“I hope the book will provide the encouragement people need to make their own original artworks,” she continues. “I don’t believe art is in the genes; it’s a learned skill. If you can hold a pencil, you can hold a scalpel.”
Papercut This Book by Boo Paterson is published by Batsford, priced £16.99.