Review of Paper Cut by Owen Gildersleeve

By / Nov 3rd, 2014 / , , , / No comments

Paper Cut by Owen Gildersleeve shows the art of paper craft in all its tactile glory!

As well as being packed full of inspirational imagery by a super group of paper-wielding creatives, the book also contains in-depth interviews with the designers, delving into how and why they choose to work with paper.

A graduate of the University of Brighton, the book’s creator, Owen Gildersleeve, now works in a shared studio in London. Showing the advantage of using paper and light together, he creates bold, often playful (and always eye-catching) creations. In the book’s introduction, Owen explains what he finds so enticing about paper:

“In a world that’s become saturated with flawless digital design, the importance of human interaction and its inherent imperfections has become hugely important. We want to feel a connection with the imagery we are looking at and even if it is a photograph of the finished illustration, knowing that it exists as a physical artwork is hugely satisfying.”

His love of working with paper and knowledge of how versatile a medium it is, and how many designers are using it brilliantly within their work, led him to create Paper Cut and we are so glad he did!


Yulia Brodskaya is one of the artists featured in the book, and uses curled up colourful strips of paper to create stunningly intricate artworks. Most impressive are her collection of portraits created in a distinctive swirly style, with a clever use of colour, resulting in phenomenal depth.

Some of the book’s most playful work comes from Elise who uses everything from boldly-patterned paper shapes to colourful balloons when creating her designs.

“I’m very much a ‘pop artist’ in the materials, colours and objects I use in my images: the plastic surfaces of everyday objects and pound shop kitsch. The use of these materials has always been at the core of my practise, and I’ve always been really inspired by the stuff we consider banal and unimportant, as well as rubbish that ends up in the bin.”

Elise proves how versatile paper is, with one of the examples of her work including the most beautiful car advert you will ever see.

Showing paper work does not need to be 3D to be impressive, Mayuko Frujino layers Japanese stencils on top of bold, textural collage. Her part-tree, part-human creations done in this signature style are beautiful, quirky and brilliantly odd!

Chrissie Macdonald uses paper to turn the everyday into the extraordinary! Rainbow-paper creating shredders, giant pencils and springing robots all take pride of place in her portfolio and are all created with precision and using vibrant colour schemes which make even the simplest of shapes a work of art.

Paper meets fashion with the work of The Makerie, their lavish, all-white paper dresses giving the book some of its most striking imagery. Julie Wilkinson and Joyanna Horscroft from The Makerie speak excitedly about their love for paper:

“I guess we’re just hooked on its versatility, and love that you can create anything from it – anything! The fact that there are such beautiful textures and colure available now is really inspiring, and it’s a pleasure to explore and celebrate these qualities.”

Stand out pieces from the portfolio of Hattie Newman include some delicious looking paper ice lollies and a “made of money” coat made from bank notes.

Simplicity is key with the work of Eiko Ojala. His work is created digitally with artificial lighting creating a gradient effect. Although some may argue that this is not technically paper work as paper is used only for reference, this does not take away from its impact and infact makes makes his creations all the more impressive as creating such convincing digital paper takes real skill.

Eiko also explains the practicalities of this approach as even finished pieces are easily changeable, a much trickier task when working with a physical object.

Opting for the more traditional approach, Ciara Phelan’s work combines exquisite detail and vibrant colour combinations. Her portfolio boasts everything from tropical typography to pop-up children’s illustrations. 

The most effective aspect of the work of Amsterdam-based artist Mandy Smith is the muted colour palette she chooses to work in. This creates a more subtle, delicate look and generates instant atmosphere. When discussing her style she observes how truly majestic the out of the ordinary can be.

“It’s fun to make things that are regular, but it’s more fun and more of a challenge to make things that are skewed – the more skewed things get, the more out of this world things seem.”

Going out with a bang, the last selection of work in the book is some of the best and comes form Zim & Zou, a French studio run by Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann.

“Our work is always inspired by a lot of things; we always try to be aware of our personal environment as well as the world in general, so everything we see can be a source of inspiration.”

Combining cut-patterns, bold colour schemes and lots of retro technology, the work that results from this ever-flowing pool of inspiration is an explosion of creativity!

Whether you want to try your hand at a bit of papercraft and are looking for some hints ‘n’ tips, or you just want to discover more about the intricacies and skills that go in to creating these paper masterpieces, Paper Cut is the book for you!

Shown above are just a small selection of the inspirational people, words and images which Owen Gildersleeve has curated to create the only paper craft book you will ever need.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.