Go With the Flow(er)
Introducing another one of our very favorite paper flower artists… Meet Ann Wood of Woodlucker! We were lucky to have the chance to speak with her and gain some inspirational insight from her own unique vision. Stay tuned for more artist interviews…
LG: How long have you been making paper flowers and botanicals?
AW: I started on Instagram sharing the art that my husband and I both created three years ago. At that time, my father was at the end of his life and after his passing, creating art felt hollow. On the last day of his life, he was commenting on how beautiful certain plants were outside. I could not get his words out of my thoughts. He was a farmer and growing things was a big part of our life. Flowers began to feel so universal to me. I could see other’s flower projects on Instagram and fearlessly started giving it a try.
LG: Where did you learn to make paper flowers?
AW: I didn’t look at any tutorials, I made it up my way — how I saw things. I have years of experience in the development of transforming materials into objects, and the florals rely on this same creative vocabulary. My background is in a variety of mediums such as mixed media sculpture, wood carving, embroidery, and painting. I studied photography at a technical college for two years, then fine art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. My husband and I have had a business where we make editions of mechanical cards and games that are wholesaled to galleries and museum shops here in the US for twenty years.
LG: Tell us about the first paper flowers you made.
AW: An Instagram friend commented on a picture of a grouping of plants my husband made for one of his sculptures and I thought — I could make things out of paper! I started with feathers, then moved toward more 3-D flowers.
LG: Tell us about your butterflies and feathers.
AW: All of the feathers and butterflies are made of handmade paper with wire structures. I enjoy creating with paper because it is pliable and comes in a variety of textures, from soft to crisp. I often use the reverse side of printed paper, allowing the ink patterns to show through. I use small sharp embroidery scissors to create each item. I call my technique “drawing with scissors.” The cuts become the lines of a drawing in 3-D. Paint and pencils add variety to the surface. It is important to me that each arranged grouping is housed in a framed collection box. The frames house the delicacy and care I put into each item, creating a permanent home for my arrangements.
LG: What do you love most about making paper art?
AW: I came to nature as a subject because it is universal. We pause to look at a flower, pick up a feather, touch a leaf, or comment to a companion about a particular specimen. Nature’s beauty is fleeting and ever changing in its magnificence. My work speaks to the notion that everything is temporary.
LG: What’s your greatest challenge when making paper art?
AW: I think the biggest challenge in creating botanicals is keeping things original. With all the on-the-spot creating and sharing on Instagram, I see a lot every day. The world of plants is huge, so I try to stay away from trends and follow my own path.
LG: Where does your design inspiration come from? How do you develop a design?
AW: For the last year I’ve been working from live plants only. I take apart the plant to see how the shapes fit together. I’ve found this really helpful to improve the realism I’m working towards. I also think taking pictures as I create helps me see things clearly. Sometimes I can see form problems in pictures more clearly than just looking.
LG: What kind of paper do you love to use?
AW: I use all handmade papers available at art stores here in the US. I often paint the surface and use a wide variety of thickness and texture of papers.
LG: What are your go-to tools when it comes to paper art making?
AW: My favorite tool is my pair of Fiskars micro-tip scissors. I have several pairs and I do everything with these except cutting wire.
LG: Do you have a paper art making top tip you could share?
AW: I think working from live plants and flowers has been most helpful for me. When I started, I looked at pictures and I couldn’t see the details. I feel it is the only way I can really see exactly how the plant works. I often literally dissect the plant to understand the shapes.
LG: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make paper flowers?
AW: I’d say give it a try! Look on Instagram under #paperflowers to get a flavor of what is happening. Creativity is a great connector between people. The appreciation of flowers is universal and the idea of everlasting flowers is so appealing.
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