Workshop Diary // Saturday 17th March 2018
This Saturday I was joined by a wonderfully amazing group of ladies for my March full day papercutting workshop. Two were friends, the other five didn’t know anyone when they arrived but we were all friends by the end of the day after a day bonding over paper and scalpels!
I welcomed Annie who had been given a gift voucher as a present, Wendy who had come all the way from Swindon and had been given a gift voucher from her daughter.
And also Treacy who had bought herself a gift voucher and redeemed it against this workshop date (that’s a good way to buy a place, even if you don’t know which date you’ll be able to do in the future).
Helen and Sarah who were friends - both teachers - and were treating themselves to a day together learning something new.
Nicole who had already been on a papercut family tree workshop but yearned to cut something new so she was on my Return to Papercutting Workshop - more about that later.
And then we had lovely Rachel who had come to the workshop to hand cut a family tree. But not just any family tree, this one was a super special present which I don’t think I can share for fear of ruining a surprise…
The day began, as always, with lovely cuppa and a biscuit. Coats were stashed, bags put under the table and heaters were on full blast to keep it nice and cosy from the wintery chill going on outside.
I began by introducing them to their new tools:
• A Fishers Fingertip Swivel Scalpel
• A Swann-Moreton 3 Handle
• Pack of 5x 10A blades
• A4 cutting mat
I showed them how to insert a blade and how to remove a blade - without cutting your fingers off!We got going on a first of three papercutting practise sheets and when they were occupied I was able to catch up with Nicole to see what her plans were to cut today.
(In case you’re wondering, I made a little video about blades which you can watch HERE over on YouTube )
As Nicole was returning to papercutting, she brought along the scalpels and mat she got from her first workshop with me. She didn’t need to go through the practise sheets as she was all skilled up with how to papercut. Meaning she could get going straight away cutting one of my templates.
There is currently a choice of around 28 original designs to cut, but I’m adding to it all the time. Nicole chose ‘and I think to myself, what a wonderful world’ which I had originally designed for my in-laws for their ruby wedding present.
The others worked steadily through the three practise sheets I designed to get you gradually more and more skilled at the ole scalpel. Everyone seems to love practise sheet two, but practise sheet three can be a bit of a challenge. But after that you’re home and dry and more than ready to cut something amazing!
As Rachel was cutting a tree, I had her cut three different practise sheets which I designed with the tree in mind. So she practised cutting the leaf holes and branches getting gradually smaller and smaller until you’re SO ready to cut your tree.
As ever, I was cutting alongside everyone. I always run a giveaway over on my Facebook page in the week leading up to a workshop and the winner wins a handcut personalised family tree. The winner this time was Kate, and I had designed her tree the day before so a big 6 namer awaited my scalpels!
With the three practise sheets lying in pieces over the table it was time for me to show them some love. The last bit of practise before choosing their main papercut templates is a ‘love’ design which is so lovely to cut. I teach them how to slowly extract the design in the right order so as not to rip or curl up the paper as you do so.
Lunchtime was drawing near. In the summer I like to lay the table outside the shop next to the mill stream but today was FAR too cold for that. I toyed with the idea of clearing the papercutting table to eat lunch on but… have you seen the state of it?
So I plumped for squeezing the table in to the front in my little shop. It was compact and bijou to say the least.
Lunch was, as ever, supplied by the amazing Lisa in the Riverside Cafe next door. Jacket potatoes were order of the day and MY they were BIG! I mean! Look at the SIZE of them!
After a lovely lunch and a natter, and remembering to WASH HANDS (who wants baked bean juice on your papercut?) we headed back to the cutting room with a lovely full belly. Rachel was ready to start on her tree and the others chose their template design from the large selection I had stuck all over the blackboard wall while they were eating lunch.
Helen snapped a rare pic of me papercutting, nice angle Helen!
Sarah chose a ‘cake is the answer’ and set about cutting like a pro. Man these knife skills round the table today were incredible!Helen chose a ‘believe in your dreams’ which is a lovely one to cut. Can I just say they both finished these in record time and wasted no time getting going on their second cut of the day!
Wendy and Helen chose ‘I make gin disappear, what’s your super power’ which always goes down well in my workshops for some reason. Sarah and Annie both chose ‘good people bring out the good in people’ and Treacy chose ‘without the dark we’d never see the stars’
Nicole was going great guns with her papercut which she’d chosen to have printed in a luscious red. And before you know it she had worked through those tricky intricate roses and was home and dry! She chose a tricky ‘love you to the moon and back’ in black for her second papercut of the day.
Wait, what? Sarah’s finished her SECOND design? is she on some sort of rocket fuel? what did I even put in her tea?
And then Annie was finished!
And then Helen was finished! Wowser the skills!
Rachel was doing amazingly well on her wonderfully intricate papercut tree
We SO needed a break and before you could say TEN MILLION CALORIES it was cake o’clock! The cakes are provided from the cafe next door and they are D I V I N E. Mahoosive cones with cream and jam, fruit flan with cream, lemon tarts, victoria sponge… you name it. It was all in my shop ready for the gannets.
With a belly full of cake and tea it was back to the table for some more papercutting.
We had really got into our groove by now and were happy, relaxed and easy in each others company as we chatted and cut.
That's the beautiful thing about papercutting, it doesn’t need much brain power so you can do it and not have to concentrate too hard. You’ll often find me with an audio book on while cutting a large papercut commission - when I design I can only have music in the background. And if I’m writing - forget it! has to be total silence.
4 o'clock, the ‘official’ end of the workshop came and went, as it usually does. We are all so absorbed in the process and the journey we didn’t want it to end.
Before you could say ‘Hendricks’ Wendy was finished!
...and so was Rachel! (pic has been censored to protect the surprise gift it will become!).
I have no idea why I haven’t got any later pics of the lovely Treacy and her creation! Tracy if you have any please forward them my way! And sorry!
I hadn’t done quite so well, but then it is always a busy day making tea and setting up for lunch and cakes for everyone. I was pleased with my progress of the family tree and ended it here for the day.
I finished it off on Monday morning and got it in the post to the happy winner on Tuesday, just four days after they won it. GO ME!
My next workshop is April 21st and I’ve currently got 2 spaces left so if you’re quick you can nab them! Choose to cut EITHER your own personalised family tree or from a range of lovely templates on the Introduction to Papercutting
You can check out my current workshop dates here. OOOH! and also you'll find me teaching a workshop at The Handmade Fair at Bowood House 22nd-24th June AND at Hampton Court Palace in 14-16th September. More about THEM later!
If you want to be in with a chance of winning a hand cut family tree, check out my Facebook page for the next giveaway which will begin on Monday 16th April 2018. Good luck!
A bientôt my little cutting friends