Florrie Thomas creates incredible intricate papercuts designs. The level of detail and patience required is awe inspiring and we love her work.
As well as being perfect for weddings and private commissions, Florrie’s designs also work well for brands as every design is unique and custom made to a suit the brief. We think her papercut illustrations would make the most incredible designs to be used in events and she also runs workshops, the perfect way to introduce an element of calm and mindfulness into your next event. Find out more and brace yourself for a visual feast in our interview with Florrie Thomas.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I grew up in a creative house with both parents in the industry, so I was always drawing and going to exhibitions. After studying Textiles I worked in Print and Fashion but Illustration has always been my first love and lead me in to paper cutting. I see my work as Illustration more than paper craft because I hand draw everything and see the end image/design as the most important part, rather than the technique. I don’t like to limit my work to just a papercut in a frame, my ongoing aim is to see my design across many mediums – book illustration, ceramics, wallpaper (to name just a few!)
How did you get into paper cutting?
I fell in to paper cutting by accident in the final year of my Multi-Media Textile Degree. My course leader saw a paper piece I was experimenting with and persuaded me to do my final show in paper rather than a traditional textile. I haven’t stopped cutting since.
When did you set up Papercuts by Florrie?
Once I graduated I worked for many companies and designers in the Textile industry but missed creating my own work and developing my style. I started to assist other artists who worked in Paper (which was quite niche back then, however very popular now!) and then that encouraged me to go freelance in 2013.
Can you tell us a bit about the process involved and where you get your inspiration from?
My influences stem from antique lace, nature, folk art, print design, typography and nostalgia, which often entwine throughout my work. I love looking through books and going through my collections of reference I’ve acquired over the years when I start a project/commission.
After I have an idea of where I want to go with the design I start sketching and writing down words that relate to the brief or elements I want to include. My process is very traditional in that I draw everything and then work out the final layout on tracing paper and then trace down the image to paper. I make sure I have a fresh blade and then start cutting the inner detail first.
We think your designs would be amazing at events or weddings. How do people use your papercuts?
Most of the commissions I get are bespoke gifts to be framed and displayed but I’m not limited to this either. Paper is the first year wedding anniversary so I tend to get a lot of commissions from partners but it also lends itself to wedding presents from guests and Wedding stationery/decorations.
I have designed and made invites including the calligraphy, table settings, order of service sign plus my ‘Everlasting Bouquet’ – a papercut of the wedding bouquet.
Any suggestions on how companies can use paper cuts for helping their brands come to life?
I can help with branding and recreate logos in paper, with design illustrations working well across social media. Illustrated advertising really stands out in printed media too and is popular for posters and book illustrations.
What does a typical day look like?
Being freelance rarely leads to a structured week and each day is different. However a great day can involve, meetings/collaborations, going to exhibitions for inspiration, starting a new project with research and drawing, then creating a fresh papercut illustration. There are less exciting elements including admin and emails but podcasts and cups of tea get me through!
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to work on and what different materials do you use?
I would say it’s pretty hard for me to go a day without using a pencil! My tool kit is pretty minimal with the main parts being a pencil, pen, tracing paper and my archive of paper and card.
Bring freelance I have had the opportunity to do many varied commissions including, window displays, working with other paper artists, prop making and editorial pieces. One of my favourite collaborations was designing two collections for the jewellery company Designosaur. The second collection featured designs inspired by one of my favourite and detailed papercuts, ‘Hidden in Lace’.
Being featured in magazines is always exciting so when I was commissioned by Homes & Gardens Magazine for the second time creating a piece for their Easter issue it was a great boost to my portfolio. One of my main challenges tends to be the trend for short deadlines as creating everything by hand and in fine detail takes time. But I love a challenge! In the past I set myself a challenge of creating a rooster (due to Chinese New Year) that was layered up in individually cut feathers all using different types and styles of paper. It took a long time and was extremely fiddly but lead to a very satisfying result and also a commission to create another.
One of the more unusual projects I was involved in was creating a decorated decoupage wooden tray for the V&A PaperCraft Book in 2018. Saying that, it was a dream to be part of a V&A Museum Publication!
What can people expect at one of your workshops?
I love that you can create a piece of art by cutting a design in to one piece of paper. The fragility and simplicity of the method is really fascinating and has been around for centuries. When I started it was still quite a niche way of working but over the years it has become more and more popular, which lead to me teaching workshops.
My workshops are perfect for anyone who is interested in art and loves to try something new. I make sure that everyone has time to get comfortable with using a scalpel and then they get the chance to cut out one of templates. All my templates are hand drawn and designed by me with different degrees of difficulty. Many people start off with a simple template and work their way up to a more complicated design. People are always surprised at how absorbing paper cutting is, and a perfect way to escape from the modern world, and it’s an addictive and rewarding technique. Silhouettes always look elegant and even a simple shape transforms once the negative space has been cut away.
Could you tell us about what you’ve been working on lately?
Doing a lot of commission work can lead to big gaps in my personal portfolio as the finished pieces aren’t mine, so I have been trying to update my collection of work.
In the last year I have started a Printmaking course and love learning lots of new skills. I hope to incorporate these new techniques in to my paper cutting as I’m always looking for new ways to work and create something different.
And finally, is there anything more painful than a paper cut?!
Ouch no!! I don’t want to jinx myself but I haven’t cut myself badly whilst working and really hope it stays that way as I can’t deal with blood!
The way to avoid any accidents is to always use a sharp blade as it’s more dangerous to use a blunt blade with lots of pressure.