Redefining Paper

Eight Creatives Discover the Potential of White Paper

A creative process often starts with a white piece of paper, sketched on and discarded. But, what happens when you ask a group of artists to make white paper the beginning, middle and end of a creative project? Redefining Paper, initiated by James Cropper Paper, challenged eight creatives to separately explore the potential of white paper, with surprising results.

In all, the white paper has remained pure, no more so than the minimalist, ‘unroll and hang’, customisable wall clock from Leeds-based duo, Rosanna and Clint, its simplicity being a willing and brilliant surrender to the understated grandeur of the material itself. The limits of the paper are pushed in the opposite direction by Manchester contemporary jeweller, Megan Ocheduszko, whose tight spinning of a length of paper forms a wearable necklace, alongside robust, durable rings. The responses say as much about the creative mind’s response to a stark, blank canvas, as it does about the resilience and versatility of the material at hand.

Supplied with a limited amount of Porcelain, a high-quality, smooth white paper made from virgin pulp by the British master papermakers, the hand-picked creatives were given freedom to explore its material properties. The only rules were to resist colouring the paper with dyes and avoid degrading it, such as by soaking in liquid. By early-summer this year, the creatives had returned with the results, showing that the simplest ideas can do most justice to the simplest of materials.

Manchester’s rising architectural protégé, James Donegan brings digital brilliance and a steady hand with his modular sculpture of hundreds of separate, unglued components. A contemporary paper pendant lampshade from London’s Laura Nelson uses incisions more often found in metal work to subtly alter the paper in unforeseen ways. From Daniel Reed’s ethereal soundscape to Daniel Hoolahan’s laboriously cut, layered vase made from over 400 individual paper rings to Thomas Mills’ ceiling sculpture and James Condon’s mesmerising animation, the ideas and executions have demonstrated that there remains much inspiration to be found in white paper.

Chris Brown, Commercial Director for James Cropper Paper, says: “We overlook the versatility of white paper at our peril; it’s the ultimate blank canvas. In engaging with creative collaborators to work with one of our most versatile and immaculate papers, Porcelain, our intention was to prove that you can achieve previously unthinkable results with something so often taken for granted. The results speak for themselves, summing up our collective appreciation for the potential of an agile, creative mind and a simple sheet of white paper.”

Redefining Paper has been initiated as part of James Cropper Paper’s ongoing support for leading creative talent, which has included Steve Messam’s PaperBridge, a bridge made entirely of paper spanning a Lake District river earlier in 2015, and the internationally-renowned Gerald Exhibition at NYC x Design in 2012. Each of the creatives will be in line for selection as a standout ‘Chairman’s Choice’ piece by James Cropper’s sixth generation Chairman, Mark Cropper, and considered for further collaborations with the British manufacturer.

For further information and to see all of the works visit: