TEA BREAK WITH….Sarah Matthews, UK-based Paper Artist
Hi! I’m Sarah Louise Matthews and I’m a freelance paper engineer, paper cut designer and published author based in Yorkshire. I worked with James Cropper to design and create a diverse, bespoke papercut and paper sculpture to tell the story of Rydal Apparel - WORN & RE-BORN.
‘Paper Engineer’ would probably have been my dream job as a child, had I known of its existence, as I have vivid childhood memories of hours spent folding origami penguins and making handmade pop up books. I graduated from my Textile Surface Design Degree in 2011 with a range of folded paper jewellery and have been building on my skills through endless experimentation and research ever since. I am now a full time freelance Paper Engineer, spending my days buried under paper, working on playful pieces for brands including Bentley, Ted Baker, Clive Christian, Sipsmith and Olivia Burton, to name a few, and my work has adorned the windows of stores including Selfridges and Pandora on Oxford Street, London. I love the variety in my work and the magic of being able to turn a flat sheet of paper into something so tactile and three dimensional is such a joy and this project was no exception.
Sitting down with Kate Gilpin, Packaging Project Leader for James Cropper, Sarah explains what it was like to exclusively work with Rydal Apparel Denim White 220gsm...
1. What was your first impression of Rydal Apparel?
Its so tactile! The texture and the subtle markings created by the flecks of fibre are so beautiful.
2. What was the paper like to work with?
The paper was a pleasure to work with! It’s always a joy to work with such a beautifully tactile paper, but I also found that it also cut and folded well which was perfect for me.
3. What first caught your eye when you saw Rydal Denim White?
The denim fibre is definitely visible within the paper, which is beautiful but also helps to tells the story of the paper - Without seeing it, it’s hard to believe that worn recycled denim could be made into paper, but feeling the paper and seeing the visible fibres really helps you to imagine the manufacturing process.
4. What about this project has inspired you?
The Rydal Apparel itself is so inspirational. I’m (unsurprisingly) a bit of a paper geek and love seeing amazing innovations in paper manufacturing. I can’t wait to use it again in future projects!
5. What has been your favourite part of working on this project?
My favourite projects to work on are always the ones involving creating a paper version of an ‘everyday object’, so this was completely up my street, but I think my favourite part of it was getting to experiment with such a lovely new paper.
6. Had you heard of James Cropper before this project? What does working with them mean to you?
I had, yes! I’ve worked with your Vanguard papers before, and was aware or your Mill being located in the Lake District. Aside from the fact that it's been so great working with such a pioneering manufacturer, it’s so wonderful that the Mill is based in the North of England, as am I.
7. What do you love most about the artistic process?
I think my favourite part of the process is just the magic of transforming a flat sheet into a three dimensional piece. I love finding ways to create the textures and forms needed for each piece and it’s always so satisfying overcoming an obstacle and finding a new way to work with paper through experimentation.