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The Art 0f Paper Cutting With Lisa Jay Studio

Paper flowers, garlands and colourful installations with Lisa Jay Studio

Abundant colourful flowers, lavish garlands and handmade personalised touches are all the rage at this summer’s most stylish events – and even more so when they’re made from paper! Toast.Life chats to leading paper artist Lisa Jay about her beautiful, intricate work and how it can take your event to the next beautiful level.



Paper has been around for a long time. I mean, a long time. Thousands of years in fact! It’s used for a countless amount of everyday purposes, and even more so when entertaining; from making the essential to-do lists and figuring out seating plans, to personalised place names and of course the all-important invitations, and these days there is huge demand for it to be further utilised in the form of seriously beautiful decorations too. But these aren’t just any decorations – these are works of art.

“Since I began making paper flowers I’ve noticed an increased interest in the UK - initially the majority of my commissions came from America, but I’m getting more and more bookings from UK clients” explains Lisa Jay, a hugely talented paper artist based in Shropshire and founder and owner of Lisa Jay Studio.

“I also see lots of beautiful paper art being used in window displays, advertising and events - from simple prop flowers to huge installations”

Lisa describes herself as a ‘late bloomer’ (no pun intended) – she had always enjoyed making things but it wasn’t until 2015 that she decided to start her own studio, whilst completing a Visual Communication degree at The University of Wolverhampton 

“I didn’t go to uni until I was nearly forty, still not knowing what I wanted to do other than something creative. It was during my course I discovered a love for working with paper, and that I was actually quite good at it!” 

Giant White Rose

Which is most definitely an understatement, judging by the quality of her work. Lisa‘s studio began initially as an outlet to showcase her many creative endeavors and it evolved quickly but organically as more and more people started to see her work, and so the commission requests started rolling in thick and fast.

“At the start, I mainly focused on small commissions, papercut cards and family or pet portraits and such. This developed into larger, more intricate papercuts as I tried to expand my style, and in 2017 I made my first paper flower for a local shop window display” she explains.

“I loved the process, turning simple sheets of paper into something so pretty! A year on, my paper flowers have become increasingly popular and have made their way across Europe and even to the States!”

White Roses  

Nowadays, Lisa works with commercial and private clients worldwide; her passion for creativity combined with an appreciation for traditional craft and learning artisan methods produces pieces that are individually hand-cut and formed, with a focused attention to detail. She lives and works in Shropshire and when she’s not in the studio cutting and curling paper she enjoys life as a wife and mum, listening to folk music and eating raspberries, I’m told.

“Honestly, I don’t think I have a particular style. My flowers tend to be big and bright, which is what customers love at the moment, but I’m just as comfortable working smaller with a neutral palette” she explains.

“Paper is so versatile and has been used throughout history to decorate and brighten the world a little, so I love knowing I’m working with such a traditional craft. Plus I love that there’s not much cleaning up! I don’t have brushes to wash and it’s clean work which I can tidy away quite quick and easily” 

So if there’s not much cleaning up…just what are the pit falls of Lisa’s creative craft I wonder…paper cuts, perhaps?

“The challenge is space! When I’m working on a large commission I have hundreds of huge flowers and sheets of A1 paper everywhere. My little studio does get chaotic but it’s cool, every surface doubles as a shelf and it’s amazing what I find to balance flowers on!” she laughs. 

“Seriously though, although I’m digitally trained I love working with my hands to create something unique and adding a touch of prettiness to people’s lives.” 

Lisa J

Lisa’s beautiful work is also incredibly versatile; she works with bridal boutique owners and brides looking for unique wedding decorations, to photographers and event hosts wanting something different. Whatever the event or purpose, the process always begins with Lisa chatting to the client and getting a feel for their event and what they’re looking for, before she then creates several digital mock-ups so that the client can actually visualize how their display will look.

“The opportunities for using paper art as event décor are endless! From large-scale wall decor to small displays and centerpieces – you can incorporate paper bunting and paper lanterns too” Lisa enthuses. 

“Because paper is so lightweight, it makes the perfect décor - easy to hang and perfect to add or enhance a focal point. And paper flowers will bloom forever, as long as there are no candles near!”

 Purple Roses

Lisa J Floral Designs Pink Roses

LJ Paper Florals

Once Lisa and her client have decided on the final layout, colours and fixings, Lisa then gets stuck in to the cutting and creating! Depending on the display size and location, she often hand delivers the finished flowers and also offers an installation service, if the client wants help with mounting the flowers at their event.

“I’m seeing lots of colour at events this summer, neutrals appear to have moved over and now bolder, bright statement decor seems to be happening, with lots of colour mixing. Personally, I’m loving all the macramé decor, large-scale hanging pieces and table runners - they add such a romantic feel” she explains. 

“And of course paper art goes beyond event decorations too - paper florals make lovely everyday home décor too, perfect for a baby nursery or as an unusual room feature. And costumes! Who wouldn’t love to wear a pretty paper headpiece or a hand sculpted piece of paper jewellery?” 

Quite.

It’s clear that Lisa’s wonderful work is incredibly involved and requires an extraordinary amount of talent, practice and patience. Every single flower, leaf and more is hand cut by Lisa, with no exceptions, but with so much pain-staking work involved – does that make her beautiful paper art incredibly expensive?

“For large pieces, I often cut the same petal shape a hundred times! But I find the process really therapeutic, and the reward comes as a display starts to come together in all its glory, it’s worth it then!” she enthuses.

‘Price-wise it really depends - some pieces are more intricate and require lots of attention to detail, which inevitably makes them more expensive because of the time involved. I always like to discuss all options with the client so that I can work with their individual ideas and budget”

Paper Roses

Paper Roses By Lisa J 

As well as stylish weddings, parties and other sophisticated celebrations, one of Lisa’s recent projects involved making a whopping 71 buds and blooms in various sizes for ALL Creative Branding’s event stand at The Museums and Heritage Show in London.

“I had a fabulous brief to work with, these guys knew exactly the impact they wanted to make, and using their brand colours we produced a beautiful eye-catching exhibition stand, with a fabulous 130cm rose as the focal point!” she exclaims.

2018 will continue with big, bold and bright floral commissions and next year is looking like more of the same if Lisa’s 2019 bookings are anything to go by. On the personal front, Lisa will be exhibiting for the second year with Secret Severn Art Trail in September  this year, as well as holding her first solo exhibition at The Hive, Shrewsbury in October, which will showcase some of her beautiful papercut work.

“I think creativity is in my genes - both my daughters are talented artists and my mum paints” she explains proudly. 

“I’m pretty much inspired by everything I see, from the beauty of nature to awesome typography on Instagram. I want to try every creative avenue, if only time will allow!”


LISA JAY’S TOP TIPS FOR PAPER DÉCOR

  • Check the weather. It’s important to consider the weather - rain is a definite no-no and prolonged exposure to bright sunlight can fade paper flowers, so positioning is key.

  • Try before you buy. If you’re working to a colour theme, always ask for paper samples as colours can appear so different on screen.

  • Be brave. I’d say to anyone considering paper decor, go for it! It’s the perfect way to add some individual style and drama to any event and paper flowers need no water, they don’t wilt and won’t cause any allergic reactions to your guests!

If you’d like to work with Lisa Jay you can find her contact details and more info on her page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book.

 
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