This month’s cover sees the return of local papercut artist Lydia Crook. Lydia designed her first Viva Lewes cover back in 2013: an intricate image of rainclouds and lettering, cut out and then painted to add a splash of colour. This month’s cover is in a layered style that she’s been experimenting with more recently: “I like the idea of adding collage and textures to my papercuttings,” she says. “It almost gives the work a 3D quality. My previous papercuttings have been 2D – although nothing’s ever really flat with paper – but with this piece I like that you can see its layers and shadows.”
Lydia found her way into papercutting after working with Lewes-based paper engineer Corina Fletcher (who also features in this month's The Way We Work series). “I worked for Corina when I was a student,” says Lydia, “and I still help out on projects when she needs me even now, 15 years on. At first I was worried that papercutting would be a big jump for me, because I had studied Fashion as my degree, but then somebody pointed out that it’s just taking something from 2D to 3D, the same way that you transform a 2D piece of fabric into a 3D garment, so it wasn’t actually that big a transition.”
Lydia’s work was soon picked up by local publisher Ivy Press, at the annual Artists and Makers Fair in Lewes Town Hall. “They invited me in for a chat and that’s where the idea for Paper Play started.” Paper Play, one of her first books, is a huge collection of projects and crafts to make with paper. “I had a lot of fun looking up all of the different projects you could do, destroying the book in the process!” She followed the book up with festive edition Christmas Paper Play a couple of years later, and then The Two Player Big Fun Book, designed for two kids to play with at once.
“I’ve always loved doing creative stuff,” Lydia says, “from jigsaws as a child right up to studying Fashion at university.” Her process has remained very hands-on; the only tools she uses today are “a scalpel, scissors, Sellotape and a ‘bone folder’ – to crease and fold paper. I often use a computer, too, but only to be able to duplicate my paper cuttings.”
At the moment, Lydia is busy working on her prints, which you can find online (lydiaspapershop.bigcartel.com) and she’s working on a couple of new book concepts with Ivy. You’ll find her latest work on Instagram.