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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Stratton Upper School workshop

Saturday workshop for pupils in Yrs 10 - 13 exploring letter forms in paper cutting.

Here are some photos of the work produced by pupils at Stratton Upper School, Biggleswade,Bedfordshire, during a saturday workshop I ran on 23rd January 2010. I had such a brilliant day - the staff and pupils were great to work with and the quality of what they produced was fantastic! They had recently been working on a typography project for their GCSE coursework and so this work directly fed into that. The workshop started with me talking about my work. I always take originals to show that are loose mounted so that people can see how delicate the cuts are and also get a sense of how they are made. The fundamental thing to understand about my work is the whole thing about paper cut away. In many art forms, layers upon layers are simply added and thats how the image is achieved. Paper cuts are the direct opposite and make your brain work in a very different way. Its quite a spacial thing to work out, and there is a logic involved in what needs to be cut out first.

In all workshops with children and adults of any age... there is always a period after I have talked and demonstrated, when its time for everyone to get cracking with their own work... when there is a tangible sense of ARGGGGGH!!!!!! making art is always a scary thing. That white page can make many people run for the hills! Thats the whole thing about making art - you have to metaphorically step off the edge and thats not easy at all.

Slowly slowly though as pupils started drawing and cutting the paper, the creative juices started flowing and there was a kind of hum in the room. We had the radio on, but there wasnt much chattering, everyone was concentrating fully on their work.

A piece of poetry cut out....

Working from photos of architecture in London....

This washing line was fantastic. This pupil had really got to grips with the technique that I use and she used it to make such a bold graphic image. This was a thrill to see made!

This pupil developed this cut from a lettering collage that he had made from text cut from magazines....

For this workshop we used fadeless display backing paper that is used in schools. Its a very matt black which has a white side. It was easy for the students to work on the white back and then cut through, so that the cuts could then be seen from the black front. The limitations of this is that the white edge sometimes showed and we also did need to reverse drawings because any letter forms would be reversed and not read correctly.


  1. These are fantastic Vanessa, lucky lucky kids. Can we swap skills? Will you help me if I help you? I think what you do is really inspiring!

  2. James... of course! I will happily give you a tutorial. Its always brill to pass something practical on!

  3. Totally inspiring! A very informative description that's given me loads of ideas. I like the way you write too.

  4. Cool - thank you Tim. I love being able to inspire people so the golden thread can keep going and going into whole new worlds!