Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm Claire and I'm one of the founders of the London based art and design studio - The Papered Parlour.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Paper Only is an entry level art and design book for anyone who is interested in kick starting their creativity and nurturing their inner artist. The projects range in difficulty and discipline - drawing inspiration from a variety of of different craft skill sets including pattern design, screen printing and sculpture.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I wanted to write a 'how to' book that would take complete beginners on an artistic adventure, building creative confidence through a series of exercises designed to develop dexterity and creative thinking. Essentially I wanted it to be a 'creative workout', like a training programme to stretch and develop the creative talents of those with a desire to nurture their 'inner artist'. Having run a multi-disciplinary studio space for the past 7 years which over the years has been home to graphic designers, illustrators, set designers, writers, silversmiths, milliners and poets I know that no matter what creative discipline you work in - the journey of creativity always begins with a blank sheet of paper. And so I thought - what better place to start building the confidence of newbie artists and designers than a book of 20 projects you can make out of paper. You don't need to buy a bunch of expensive equipment to get started just a piece of paper!
Which is your favourite project?
It's definitely project 18 which shows you how to design and block print your own wallpaper. Beautiful handprinted wallpapers can be extremely expensive to buy per roll - and this project shows you how to get the look for a lot less. It's also a project that uses all the skills you've developed through completing the other 'makes' in the book and so I like the way the reader can build their skill levels as they work through the book and then showcase their creative talents by designing, printing and hanging their own wallpaper at home for all their friends and family to admire. It's not a throw away project - making your own wallpaper represents a real creative achievement.
What is your craft space like?
We'll I've actually just moved house so the contents of my studio is currently contained in about 50 cardboard boxes, so I can only tell you what it looks like in my head! Light, bright with views of tress. I'm planning a self build for the end of my garden with a big work bench in the middle where I can crack on with printing wallpapers. There will be plenty of storage and additional working surfaces around the edge for all my materials and equipment - topped off with an enormous butler sink where I can wash my screen printing screens out with a hose pipe.
Have you always been creative?
Yes, as soon as I was old enough to make mischief my mum started carrying note books and pens with her to keep me occupied and out of trouble when we were out of the house. At home I had a little easel and ice-cream tubs full of coloring pencils. My favorite TV show from around 4 years old was a BBC art programme for kids called Hartbeat where a lovely man called Tony Hart showed you how to draw. The show also featured a gallery section where children would send in their pictures and the best ones would be shown on the TV. It was my greatest ambition to have one of my pictures selected and shown on TV (that and wanting to run as fast as Linford Christie). Later I went on to study at art school in Italy and London and have worked in art galleries, museum and studios ever since.
When did you first start crafting?
I guess I started crafting from around the age of 3. My mum was a primary school teacher and she had a book which showed you how to make Christmas decorations, so I think the first thing I can remember making was an angel for the top of the Christmas tree - we made it from gold card and it stayed on top of the tree for at least 13 years. I was also lucky enough to live in Cambridge where every school holiday the local authority ran these wonderful week long workshops where I made things like candle holders covered in shells and sand, ceramic dishes and even a flyable kite.
Who are your crafty heroes?
For me it all begins and ends with William Morris. I studied him when I took A-level History of Art when I was 17 years old and I found him to be the most incredibly inspiring artist and human being. Aside from his exceptional mastery of drawing, printing, painting and weaving, his socialist politics, political campaigns, pamphleteering, literary writings, translations of classic northern European literature, poetry, architectural masterpieces and business skills in the interior design world - the thing I loved most about him is that they say 'he died of being William Morris'. I always thought that was wonderful, and indeed it remains my intention to this day to keep working across different artistic disciplines until the day I drop dead. If I can gain master over even one of the genres Morris is well known in I'll die a happy woman.
Where do you find inspiration?
Taking my leave from William Morris, the most important thing for me creatively is to always be working across different disciplines, so I take inspiration from all over the place. I love the idea of mixing high and low arts with pop culture and academic references. Consequently my work tends primarily to draw from the worlds of theater, music, contemporary art & design and film, but I always begin with politics and current affairs and weave in the aesthetics once the core issues are set.
What's next for you?
I have a studio to build in my garden and a whole lot of wallpaper to make for my new house!