Astonishing is the word that comes to mind on seeing the delicate and gorgeous work of paper artist Pippa Dyrlaga; especially once you learn more about the delicate juggling act of this cutting creating process. Her pieces, small works of art filled with tiny details, contain much of their creator’s personality, clearly showing the degree of concentration and dedication which each of her works require.

In such a digitized world, the work of Pippa is that of an artisan devoted to detail, hiding behind a blank sheet of paper to express feelings and emotions. This work, which began as a hobby, has ended up catapulting her to the international scene as one of the finest paper artists today.

“I love this work. It’s a process that requires a great deal of meditation and it’s totally relaxing. When I get to work, I’m completely immersed in what I’m doing. Through this activity I’ve discovered qualities such as patience and tranquillity, which I thought I didn’t possess, but they’re essential for me to be able to do something like this. I’ve also been able to apply them to other aspects of my life,” she says.

Pippa works from home, in a small studio in which the slow pace the work requires finds its best space, and where she can isolate herself in a bubble that also allows her to devote time to engraving, another of her passions. “The whole process of creation requires special conditions, so that everything can flow smoothly. In my studio at home, I have the perfect framework to create,” she says.

1. ¿How would you qualify your work?
I am a paper cutting artist who uses traditional techniques to create contemporary artworks. Everything I make is painstakingly drawn and cut out by hand. In a world that is incresingly digital, my process is is completely manual and made by hand. I want to make original artworks that are inspired by the world around us.

2. ¿How important is the material you use, the paper, for getting a good result?
I always use a clean sheet of light coloured paper. I love the simplicity of a blank sheet of paper, and creating something with depth and life from it. I have experimented with other materials, but I will always come back to this one.

3. ¿What do you like the most about your work, and the least?
I love the process of creating my work. Its very meditative and calming and I get a lot out of it. You have to focus and get into a rhythm. The process is important for me, but it is also incredibly time consuming and so as I work from a home studio, can be a little isolating if I don’t also combine it with other things, like my printmaking.

4. ¿Are there any themes or topics that particularly stimulate your creativity?
Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world, especially the one that surrounds me. Yorkshire is a very green and beautiful place and as a child, I lived on a Canal boat, so there are a lot of riverside based inspiration in my work. I do find inspiration everywhere though, and so I like that I have the freedom to be able to cover many subjects in my artwork, from nature to pop culture. I find inspiration in so many places, and I find that social media such as Instagram, is great for finding inspiration, and other artists that you admire. Its great being able to have a constant dialogue with the people that follow you, and listen to their ideas and thoughts on your work, and also communicate with other artists all over the world. I read art and culture magazines, blogs, try and visit galleries and museums when I can. I also love scouring for art documentaries on YouTube. I try to expose myself to as many different mediums and artists as I can.

5. ¿What three words define your work??
Intricacy. I want to create works which have life, so I want to include the fur, the detail in the feathers of birds, the ripples in the water. I want to try and capture a frozen moment in time.

Commission for the Bear and Billet in Chester.
Millenium falcon, hand drawn and hand cut paper.

6. ¿Is your working method always the same?
The process is usually similar. I will draw out a rough guide, simple lines. I will usually start with a focal point, such as the wing of a bird. More and more over time, I have started planning out the image less, preferring to develop the piece as I go along, working outwards from the focal point. It’s quite an organic process, and the image can change dramatically from what I first have in mind as it changes and develops as I work on it in sections. I love working like this, and I am finding the longer I have been working in this way, I trust myself more in my ability. I am beginning to work more in themes, creating a series, so many works within a wider theme, such as my Riverside series, or my new Biophilia series.

7. ¿Do you enjoy that your work has gained recognition?
A lot of my work is inspired by memories, and is emotionally led. I often get people sharing their own memories of things that my work has brought up for them, and also how the work speaks to them through their own current experience, or memories that they have too. I find it really great that people share these things with me.

8. ¿What is the next thing we’ll see from you?
I have a new series of works in mind, which I have just started and am part of an exciting exhibition soon, but after that I am open to any new opportunities which might come my way!

9. ¿What about a book?
This isn’t something that is planned, but one day would be great!

Fotos: Pippa Dyrlaga

Produced as a print to raise funds for the Refugee Council.

Work detail.
Hand drawn and hand cut paper artwork.

This article is also available in Español