Monday 19 December 2022

PaperArtsy Blog - 2022 Year in Review {Topics 1 to 4}

Season's Greetings from PaperArtsy HQ,

As we look back at 2022, I personally find this feature is often a time to reflect on the past year. This year, I find myself looking back at the past 3 years, something I have been really reluctant to do as it's been such a weird period, the likes of which most of us have never experienced before, and I am sure we have all been impacted directly in ways that we probably really want to move away from. But I'm going to jump in and dig a little bit deeper.

For us here at PaperArtsy we also moved our business mid-pandemic from England to France. We have moved country once before, 20 years ago from New Zealand to England, and that was pretty challenging in many unexpected ways, but this time, to move to a country that speaks a language we are not fluent in, that was never going to be quite so straightforward! It was a decision we had researched for 3 years prior to the move, and one which we knew was going to be equal parts exciting and terrifying. But our life changing challenge was diminished considerably as we came to learn of the deep losses many suffered over the same timeframe due to a pandemic.

In this post, I'd like to pay special tribute to retailers, we work closely with a handful in various countries across the world. They were so supportive of our move, and at the same time were dealing with thier own challenges juggling so many new unknowns in such a short space of time; from getting stock online, to kerbside pick ups, quarantine, and all the while ensuring the safety of customers and staff alike. They took everything in thier stride, got stock online rapidly, as well as demos, classes, unboxing deliveries, flash sales and even being personal shoppers. There were many times where I realised how fortunate we were as a sector. We were already pretty familiar with various online platforms for education, communication and shopping. We are still navigating some delivery delays, and so I take this moment to thank customers the world over for supporting their independent retailers, and being patient with us all!

Anyhow, enough from me, Dounia has selected some posts from Topics #1: Opposites Attract, #2: Pattern Play, #3: Second Life and #4: Interactive. It's agony choosing just a couple of posts to showcase each topic; there are just so many that really are incredible creative offerings! If you want to seek the entire topic, then she has included links to the topic intro, and you can go from there to look back at each of the posts, you might even like to leave a comment. In 2022 we announced a few new blog teamies, and they have all settled in just beautifully and will continue with us for another year in 2023. We deliberately added a more international flavour to this creative space, I love to see how people craft and if their style is reflective of the flavour of their home country.
Get ready for a bit of bling, brightness, and blooming good fun as we look back on the first 4 topics of 2022!


For this new year, we decided to be a bit educational as well as inspirational! Colour is a huge part of any crafters world but we do not always feel confident experimenting and playing with it. Worry sets in that we might make mud or end up with clashing results. Teaching you (gently) about colour theory is a way to help you understand why colour works better some times than others, and how you can deliberately make mud if you need to!

Throughout 2022, the blog has offered topics exploring the colour wheel, how to make one, how to use it and how to spice it up to try new and unexpected colour combinations. We hope the topics introductions and our bloggers' posts will become a reference for you to fall back on and further your colour game. 

To compliment our introduction to this yearly theme, Leandra showed live how to create your own colour wheel, with an emphasis on branching away from the classic bright Magenta/Blue/Yellow primaries. The community had fun with our wheel template and the results were amazing! Once you have your own wheel (downloaded from the @paperartsy Instagram  linktree bio), this first topic focuses on the most famous and simple colour combination: opposite colours! A sure way to achieve the greatest of colour contrasts, our bloggers also show you it is also a bit more versatile than you might expect!

Let's start with a classic: Orange & Blue with this journal page by Claire Snowdon. The opposite colours create immediate contrast between the background and the focal images, making the elements 'pop'. That is what opposites are all about, a tension between 2 colours that conflict with each other directly, yet when balanced together there is an energy and 'POP' that makes art zing!

I love the balance and openness of Claire's composition, which allows us to really enjoy her gorgeous layered background, the perfect backdrop for the sunny flowers. Check her original blog post to discover all the steps of this fun and intuitive project.

Kate Yetter also choose to work with bright and fun colours but in the less ubiquitous Magenta/ & Yellow Green combination. Magenta really takes the lead here, as a bold background. The slightly less saturated green makes the contrast more subtle but no less effective! I love how Kate used stamped tissue paper to create a softer transition between her two colours. Go to original blog post to see all the yummy textured she put into this piece of mail art!

Jennie Atkinson is generally more a tonal type of crafter and approached this combination of Light Orange & Blue-Purple cautiously! Her beautiful memory book, with its softer tones and delicate layers, really shows that opposites colours do not need to be bold and bright to work. Her original blog post is a great example of how unexpected inspiration can be, as she gradually gets to know her colours and experiments with tone and contrast.

Patterns are everywhere around us, from natural compositions to architectural constructions, from leaves to skylines, butterflies to textiles and everything in between. They are also the backbone of arts and crafts, populating backgrounds, creating textures or bringing depth to simpler images. 

With this topic we wanted to shine a light on those humble patterns and explore the joy they bring both during and after creation. To help you on your pattern journey, the introduction post includes a very useful video by Tracy Scott, demonstrating how she goes about her own pattern play and sharing some tricks for repeat stamping. Our team of bloggers then offered their own interpretation of the theme, adding patterns from the background to the foreground with a variety of techniques. Here are a few examples.

Amanda Pink took advantage of Ellen Vargo's abstract stamps, perfect for pattern play, to create a 'Happy Box' and its cards. The bright colours and black stamping contrast beautifully to achieve a striking and cohesive look. The patterns truly are the stars of the show! Her blog post gives you a closer look at all the cards that went into this box, and shows how fun and addictive pattern play can be. It is full of techniques to get the most out of your stamps, a must read!

Martha Ponsanesi managed to make her background the main feature in this peppy journal page! I love how the yellow green is so eye-catching while still showcasing the other elements. Notice how the pink circle are both embellishments and part of the pattern? Go to her original blog post to see all the subtle layers of this deceptively simple project, a real play on tonal colours. Proof that you don't necessarily need lots of supplies to create interest and impact!

In this beautiful journal spread, Renata Peley used subtle pattern in her background to provide interest and make the focals pop! Her original blog post details her play session with her gel plate, some pretty blue Fresco acrylic paints, her stamps and repurposed packaging to create a whole series of patterns. Another simple and addictive technique and a great way to make coordinated papers. Her trick to avoid choosing among them - use them all!

Another focus this year on the blog was sustainable crafting, developed along several topics this year. This is the first of those where our team tries its hand at repurposing objects and giving them a new life as art! 

We all are used to incorporating book-text in our projects, or keeping pieces of pretty packaging,  but here we wanted to go a step further and look at how (somewhat) ordinary objects can be transformed and elevated. They can provide unusual materials, build an original substrate or structure, or be unique embellishmentsThe idea is to encourage us to look at everyday objects differently and see potential use and beauty in all things! Keren's introduction post is full of such creative ideas and our bloggers were also inspired, have a look.

My first pick is a classic, always wonderful: altered boxes and tins. The perfect way to either secret away or display little treasures! Here Autumn Clark made matchboxes into two delightful and intricate art dolls. All the layers and the subtle colouring really make the most out of those Lynne Perrella stamps! Check her original blog post to see her process and how she dissected and reassembled her stamps for truly custom-made dolls.

Jennie Atkinson mixed two of her favourite hobbies: papercrafts and needlecrafts into a whimsical pin cushion. A beautiful and useful new life for this lonely teacup! She really had great fun making it not just a practical object but a complete scene with intricate details. I just love the butterflies that seem ready to flutter away if you reach for a pin. Go to Jennie's original blog post for interesting techniques with Infusions and details of all the tiny elements.

Liesbeth Fidder de Vos was certainly inspired by the topic and used her imagination to transform a book cover and some old jeans into a classy handbag! How crazy is that! I am impressed by how well she was able to match the various elements for a cohesive look. Especially considering she had no concrete plan when she started... Her original blog post details this extensive process and makes it achievable if you are on the look for a new accessory.

One could argue that any art or craft piece is interactive: it certainly is a conversation between the maker and viewer. This topic was all about pushing that aspect further, building connections and creating surprise. 

You can find interaction between layers of a project: using cheeky peek-a-boo windows, overlaying delicate lace pages, or taking advantage of transparent layers. Creating ways to make the viewer physically interact with your work is also great fun: flaps, folds and doors you can open revealing little secrets; tabs, strings or levers you can pull to animate the artwork; shaker niches, pop-up elements or turning cogs to bring that 'wow' moment. Large scale artwork can even blur the line between viewer and actor, check the great examples in Keren's into post. Let's not forget pieces that interact with their environment, to initiate movement like mobiles, paper lanterns or candle carrousels, or to involve the senses like wind-chimes, sun-catchers or tactile art. Interaction can be a small tentative connection or a full body experience but it always deepens and enriches our experience of art. 

Laurie Case did a bit of stamp deconstruction to create her city for this cute and dimensional panel. Not sure the result is the most structurally sound, as the tallest house can apparently easily loose its roof, revealing a beautiful message on a tab! The background is subtly complex and helps to give the project a cohesive look despite using the whole rainbow. A great balancing exercise! Check her original blog post to see the twists of this project's journey.

Etsuko Noguchi chose to play with depth and layers with this intricate and colourful carrousel book. Her original blog post details the process and dimensions, it is not as complicated as one might think! I love how the open layers play with each other for a very delicate look. This is also a throwback to topic #1, turquoise and orange being opposites on the colours wheel! They provide great contrast between the background and frames, leaving a wide stage for the focal images to shine in subtler colours.

Riikka Kovasin went full on articulated and playful, mixing jumping jack and art doll. She was inspired by orthodox icons and between the rich purple colours and the gold embellishments, that certainly translated in the result. I love the unexpected use of Seth Apter's stamps: apparently they make great byzantine decorations! Her original blog post explains the construction of the doll: the face is casted with hot glue, available to anyone, how great is that!

Well, wasn't that a fabulous array of wonderful!? We are so spoiled by our blogging team and the lengths they go to creating their projects. I hope you can appreciate the time they put into each piece, but more importantly, how much they enjoy what they do while creating.

We'll be back tomorrow with more highlights from the PaperArtsy Blog, hope to see you again!



A Pink said...

I always enjoy your 'Year in Review' posts and what a terrific 'read and see' this first one of this year has been.

So many fabulous topics this last year and fantastic projects mentioned offering such a variety of creative inspiration .

I'm so humbled that my 'happy box' is amongst them! Thanks Dounia

Looking forward to the 2022 Year in Review posts yet to come and the creative memories ! :) x

PaperArtsy said...

Thanks to our amazing blogging team. I just love to see every post they create, so inspirational and full of the joy of creating. We appreciate the time they put into each post, and look forward to welcoming them back for 2023!

sally said...

It’s always a pleasure to check in and see what the latest creations are 😍 such a variety of styles from the many talented people who participate. Seasonal greetings to you all and your terrific support team/ retailers. See you in 2023!

Sally x

Words and Pictures said...

Wonderful creations from the team throughout the year... I think the Second Life repurposing theme was one of my favourites of all.
Alison x

Seth said...

Always wonderful to look back. I remember many of these amazing projects and they still amaze!