Questions from Lauren Parkin, Fine Art Student, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Dear Bovey,

I just want to say how much I LOVE your work, you must get this all the time but I really do admire it. My name is Lauren and I’m a Fine Art student studying at Newcastle University in England. I am currently paper cutting myself and know how long each one takes to do! I wanted to ask, my blades keep breaking at the tip and I was wondering if I was doing something wrong when cutting? Also I am struggling to find the right paper thickness to get the best cuts, some paper is too thin and rips and card is way too thick, and generally painful to cut!! Do you have¬†any tips you can share?

Thank you very much,

Lauren

Lauren,

Thanks for your questions.

Do you use a self-healing cutting mat when you cut? The blades I use get dull but never break. I am thinking maybe you don’t have something soft to allow the blade to sink into. In China, I saw paper cutting artists used beeswax blocks instead of cutting mats. But the function is the same.

Finding the right paper is not easy. My experience is that a paper’s density makes it more or less prone to ripping, not necessarily its thinness or thickness. I would try to find a paper that is thin but dense. Rice paper is just that, although it can still rip if the paper is tissue thin and your design is intricate. Rice paper is made from mulberry tree barks. The long fibers of the tree barks make the paper less likely to tear. If you can get mulberry (or kozo in Japanese) paper where you live, try it and see if that works better. If you don’t have to use paper, I know artists who use Tyvek and really love it.

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