Questions from Holly Maguire, Cardiff, United Kingdom

My answers are inserted in the questions from Holly.

"Atomic Jellyfish"

"Atomic Jellyfish," Bovey Lee, Rice paper cutout, 27x47in., 2007

My name is Holly Maguire and I am studying in my final year of a degree in illustration in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Firstly I wanted to tell you that I really admire your work and was wondering whether you would mind if I send you a few questions about the way you work and what inspires you.

What is your method of working and what tools do you use for your paper cut work?

When I have an idea, I start using the computer to help me form the image. Sometimes, I also do drawings. But always with the computer and software, I develop what I call a digital template. It is a positioning and visual guide for me to see what and where things are.

Atomic Jellyfish first sketch

Atomic Jellyfish first sketch, pen on paper, 2007

I place the digital template on top of a piece of rice paper and begin cutting by hand with an X-acto knife.

The tools I use are simple: self-healing cutting mat, X-acto knife and blades, staples, clips, and paper weight. I use Chinese rice paper exclusively.

What would you say most inspires the pieces you create?

It is important I express something compelling and urgent in my work. I am interested in many things but themes such as power, politics, sacrifice, and survival are central to my work.

How long does each cut out take to plan and make?

It really varies. Sometimes ideas come to me quickly within minutes and sometimes it can take days and weeks. Once having an idea though, it take from hours to days to complete the digital template. Cutting hours are depending on size and intricacy of the piece. “Atomic Jellyfish” took four months from planning to cutting.

How do you see your work developing or changing in the future?

I would like to do larger and installation pieces. Humor is often present in my work alongside heavy-loaded message that I want to keep developing and balancing. I may experiment with color more and contemplate to use different materials other than rice paper.

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