These Aren't Your Typical Arts and Crafts

See how 11 paper artists turn the most ordinary of materials into mesmerizing objects.

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Rosa Yoo

From: Seoul, South Korea

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Style: Citing pop-up books as her main source of inspiration, Yoo creates paper sculptures, often depicting whimsical villages with an intricate array of rooftops.

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In Her Words: "Everyday life inspires me to start new work. If I look at something long enough, it seems as if it were alive—I wish it were also alive in my paper artworks."

Emma Boyes

From: Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Style: A true lover of nature, Boyes carves intricate birds, flowers, and plant life from paper.

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In Her Words: "I spend a lot of time in the Lake District National Park in northwest England. After a day of hiking, I come home with ideas bursting out onto the paper. I love how a simple sheet can be transformed into something completely new."

Roma McLaughlin

From: Melbourne, Australia

Style: McLaughlin juxtaposes the hard edges of urban imagery with lace-like paper cutouts and the soft, organic shapes of clouds, birds, and trees.

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In Her Words: "I take many photographs of people, food, buildings, street scenes, and trees. My focus on contoured shapes, silhouettes, shadows, and patterning isn't just decorative; it aims to convey a sense of urban identity."

Chris Natrop

From: Los Angeles, CA

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Style: Natrop forms large-scale futuristic landscapes from color-washed paper cutouts.

In His Words: "Paper has an amazing economy that allows me to create massive, upscaled, environment-based installations with minimal overhead."

Kristine Benum Braanen

From: Oslo, Norway

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Style: Braanen never uses stencils or rulers, instead working completely freehand, which results in delicate, geometric paper sculptures.

In Her Words: "Beautiful and interesting shapes are everywhere in art, architecture, and nature. I love finding and creating order within the seeming randomness and chaos."

Jacky Cheng

From: Broome, Australia

Style: Taught paper-cutting by her grandmother, Cheng draws from the Malaysian tradition in her own aesthetic—basic shapes made up of intricate cuts.

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In Her Words: "Working with paper is a relationship of mutual respect. Respect it, and it will work with you. Disrespect it, and, well...start again! When I cut, I really only have one shot. The focus is intense, but it's an amazing feeling. The unknown is exciting and liberating, and if I make a mistake and have to move on, that's that."

Julianna Szabo

From: Dublin, Ireland

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Style: Szabo is known for her playful 3-D paper works, often bringing them to life in stop-motion videos.

In Her Words: "I like combining ordinary objects into a surprising new shape, something that looks unusual. Everybody is familiar with paper—we all write on it, wrap things in it—so people can relate to the effort that goes into each piece. Often, my works tell a story to lure the viewer into a moment, a feeling, or an atmosphere."

Olga Skorokhod

From: Roseburg, OR

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Style: Skorokhod sculptures play with shadows and texture, creating the illusion of extreme depth with paper in varying shades.

In Her Words: "Three years ago I took a razor blade to white printer paper. I was amazed by the results I got by simply cutting paper—a minimal sculpture with stunning texture created by light and shadow. I let the cutting be dictated by my imagination, feelings, and ideas. It's meditative."

Bovey Lee

From: Los Angeles, CA

Style: Still using the first art material she ever used—Xuan (rice) paper—Lee focuses on our relationship to the environment.

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In Her Words: "My inspiration comes from experiences—international travel, road trips, and being an urbanite. I ask questions like, Why do we keep removing nature where we seek serenity? Is the nature we've come to know and experience constructed? What happens when we disconnect nature from our everyday life and think of it as a distant fantasy?"

Laura Gilbert

From: Manchester, England

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Style: Gilbert's elaborate cuts often allude to dark, romantic narratives.

In Her Words: "You'd think that a plan for a paper-cutting design would have to be pretty rigid, but I find I work a lot more freely and confidently in paper than in any other medium. Once you've made that cut, there's no going back. I'm intrigued by the darkness in the world, and I find that the spaces in between are just as interesting as what we see in black and white."

Nina Pearse

From: Sydney, Australia

Style: Pearse hopes to invoke a sense of wonder in the natural world through intricate, exquisite paper cuts.

In Her Words: "The blank aesthetic of a white sheet of paper creates an amazing canvas for creating art. There is an interesting juxtaposition in the notion of creating fluid, free-form motifs through decisive, structural paper cuts. I aim to challenge the distinction between these two elements, forming minimalist pattern-making, and creating a paper lace."

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