Describe what you sell.
Each of my kirigami works is a one-of a kind, hand- cut creation. While origami is the art of folding paper into creative shapes, kirigami is paper that is both folded and cut. Most people will remember kirigami as a way to make paper snowflakes. In addition to hanging or frame-able kirigami mandalas, I also make elegant three-dimensional kirigami cards, pop-up cards, cards that unfold several times, and other paper creations.
What is your real life like?
The last of my six children just left for college, so I am blissfully single and can spend the bulk of my time creating diverse kinds of art. I am also a life coach and see clients when I'm not creating. I live on a small farm in beautiful Vermont. The house is 218 years old -- lots of upkeep, lawn mowing, gardening and endless repairs -- no more animals, though. All of this keeps me busy, which suits me fine.
What is your process?
Kirigami work is detailed and tedious, but if you approach it as a relaxing pastime -- like knitting -- it can be very rewarding. Paper type is most important in kirigami work because it must fold easily without cracking and cut without tearing. I am still searching for the perfect paper. For the mandalas, I use light-weight, very bright paper which I buy in reams. Paper for cards is more problematic. It must be heavier, yet flexible and fairly easy to cut. I use artist-grade paper, most often Strathmore or Stonehenge, sometimes Neenah classic linen.
Scissors: very sharp, larger scissors with a good point are best. I sometimes use good sewing scissors. If I am cutting a lot, I use razor pointed, spring loaded ergonomic craft scissors which cut down on hand fatigue. Sometimes I wrap my fingers with paper medical tape to prevent blisters.
I also use a variety of punches. The best are fiscars.
My process: To make cards, I first cut the paper to a square size. I print out the logo on my Epson pro printer. Then I fold the paper with a bone folder and sometimes press it in my dry mount press. Next I trim the outside into the proper shape and with dye-based stamp ink, decorate the front. Next, I add gold paint for zest. I stock several blank cards like this in my working box full of scissors and punches and cut them out at my leisure in the evening.
When the cuttings are done, I glue them together with archival Yes! glue and press them overnight. The next day I photograph them from several angles, package them, and post on Etsy. Voila!
Kirigami mandalas take longer to cut but are not as complicated to prepare for sale. After cutting, the mandalas must be carefully unfolded and pressed flat. They are then laminated in a hot press, trimmed, punched, strung with gold cord, packaged, and photographed for sale. Larger mandalas meant for framing are not laminated. After purchase, they are lightly mounted to cardstock and packaged for framing.
Business Goals and Vision...
My kirigami work is a folk-art and I would love to see it featured in Vermont handcraft stores and in store windows. Someday I would like to have diecuts made of my best designs so I could produce more than just one-of a kind works. In this vein, I would like also to produce a line of unique three-dimensional wedding cards and invitations.
How do you market your business?
Right now my kirigami work is mainly on Etsy and in local shops in Woodstsock, Vermont.
Do you subscribe to any business related blogs, zines or magazines?
Guild of American Papercutters
What inspires you?
I love paper! I am interested in handmade paper and have much too much. Unfortunately much of it is not suitable for kirigami. I also love to paint, draw, and build wearable art clothing. I am inspired by all kinds of beauty, natural and man-made. If I am in a new city, I make a bee-line to the nearest art museums, churches, gardens, historic homes, and stationery stores. Yum.
What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
Large Mandala to frame
Smaller hanging mandala ( both pictured to the right)
Hand Cut Kirigami Card(first picture)
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