Thursday, 30 January 2014

Interview with Sarah Dennis

On Monday 10th February Sarah Dennis will be running a papercutting workshop at Hamilton House. I had a great time doing the same workshop back in November, where we all spent a relaxing time listening to music and cutting away at our paper, watching in awe as Sarah demonstrated the intricate techniques of slicing away even the tiniest sections of a drawing. Her designs combine the simple block colours of the papers and the intricacy of her detailed cutting to create stunning works of art, which range from gifts to a published children's book. 

I asked Sarah a few questions to find out a bit more about her work, so that you can find out more about her as an artist and maybe try your hand at papercutting! 

How did you first get into paper-cutting?

It was not until after my degree that I started focusing on my paper cutting skills. I was invited to contribute a piece of artwork for an exhibition called 'play' in London by a collective called Inkygoodness. It was with this piece that my paper cutting journey began; I let my imagination run wild and put together a really detailed piece with multiple intertwined layers. I loved creating this piece so much that I began to research traditional paper cutting methods as well as developing techniques of my own.

Do you only work in paper-cutting or do you work in other creative fields?

I draw in pencil and pen and ink.

What is your earliest recollection of paper-cutting and what made you want to do more?

I have always been intrigued by oriental artwork. I took a trip to Bristol museum one day where I discovered the most amazing Chinese paper craft exhibition. This work was the most intricate and detailed crafted imagery I had ever seen. This opened my mind to the possibilities of paper cutting and made to want to learn more.

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?

I love nature, sometimes just watching a documentary will inspire me to create a new piece. I'm really interested in the natural patterns that emerge in nature: from the fractals in Romanesco broccoli to the flocking of birds and fish. I also love to think a lot about the incredible journeys that creatures make to survive. I also love reading old folktales: I recently bought some books called 'Japanese Tales and Legends' and 'Coyote Stories'. I love the use of imagery in these stories and the morals of the tales. All of these themes feed into and inspire my artwork in some way. 

Which other paper artists' work do you admire?

I admire the work of Elsa Mora  and Mia Pearlman.

The manipulation of paper can produce some beautiful artwork, do you ever experiment with other materials?

I am pretty hooked on paper at the moment, I recently received a book called 'paper to petal' this book teaches you how to make flowers from crape paper. This is a totally new way of working for me and one I am really enjoying learning more about.

Sarah Dennis' workshop will take place on Monday 10th February from 6-8.30pm at £25. To sign up click on the 'workshops' tab on this blog.

- Sacha

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