Artsource 6x6 Talk in Albany: 6 artists/ 6 minutes: Here's my 6 minute talk......

The Art of the Creative Business:

“Business” is often considered a dirty word in the arts. But nearly everyone who works in the arts runs a ‘business’of sorts. If you are providing a service or goods which you are paid for- then you are in essence doing business. It’s the natural giving and receiving that enables people to create a living by doing what they love. Business can be creative in itself. You only need to look at some of the creative entrepreneurs who are also artists, crafters, designers and makers in the world and realize that there are no limitations to the way you can choose to live, work, and make a living now so its exciting times we live in.

I have always made some sort of a living from my creative pursuits. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love freedom and I like to be my own boss.

Creativity and business are in my genes. My mother was an artist and I grew up amongst a lively arts community here in Albany. But my sense of business comes from my dutch trading heritage on my father’s side. Dad was born in Gouda in Holland and who at 86 still runs a successful farming business in Torbay.

Growing up on a farm instilled me with a sense of independence and resourcefulness. As a kid I was always drawing, or creating imaginary worlds in the bush. Lots of space and nature fueled my world.

As a teenager I made elaborate mobiles from beach findings and sold them at Amity Crafts. I studied Fine Arts at Curtin University and as an art student I taught myself leadlighting and sold leadlight mobiles made from recycled glass offcuts which would supplement my painting. In the 90’s I made brightly decorated mirrors from recycled gyprock offcuts and this also grew into a business.  I used to exhibit in Melbourne & Sydney at the huge Reed Gift Fairs sharing a stand with Golden Hill Candles.  As a result I stocked many shops around Australia, and some overseas.

I then got into Community arts using the medium of mosaics and this took me far and wide on projects and residencies from Christmas Island, to the Phillipines and Tibet, and to numerous remote aboriginal communities in the WA and NT deserts. Mostly funded by arts grants.

This all happened in conjunction with my painting, which I would regularly exhibit and sell. So my work has always been in the arts but always exploring  and moving in a range of creative directions.

The catalyst for my current creative business ‘This Papercut Life’ resulted from a cancer diagnosis in 2010. In short I had a lot of love sent my way. My art changed and became more about sending that goodwill out in gratitude. I also realized that I just wanted to be in my studio designing, making and creating. And I wanted a slower gentler stress free life.

This Papercut Life has grown and expanded over the last 5 years. I create a range of papercuts, woodcuts, jewellery, and home wares. I stock 22 shops and galleries around Australia and have a website and an online store in which which I receive orders from around the world. I also create artwork for exhibitions and competitions, and receive both private and corporate commissions. Running my own creative business is as much about lifestyle. I enjoy life here in Albany and I also get to travel extensively which is another one of my passions.

Originally I started by hand cutting all my artworks with a scalpel knife but demand grew and my shoulder ached so I bought a lasercutter (and recently a second larger one) to help me.  This technology has enabled my design work to expand in both materials and applications- and in production. I can create one single design in numerous ways- and using a range of materials including paper, Perspex, and local timbers.

My inspiration comes from the appreciation of the big things in life and include themes of people, family, community, and environment. There is a strong storytelling aspect to my designs and they remind me of the drawings I did prolifically as a child.

This Papercut Life has a large following and many customers. Relationships are central in all aspects of life, but it’s also important to develop great relationships with my buyers, and also with the stores and galleries, and anyone that stocks or promotes my work. My work has featured 3 times this year in the West Australian Style Counsel due to the development of a good relationship.

Marketing is also important. Facebook Pages and Instagram work for me and I find Facebook is an excellent free marketing tool. There is so much more opportunity to share work online to such a huge audience and the tyranny of distance is lessened as we are able to connect with new networks through the internet.

Originally This Papercut Life had two streams- product design and making, and the other was one-off handcut paper artworks. The two have now merged.  For example in 2013 I had a residency and exhibition at Aspects of Kings Park and this included a diverse range of my products as well as an exhibition of one-off artworks.

Another example is a collaborative project I did with Perth artist Tony Pankiw. We where shortlisted for the National Anzac Centre Public Art project. We didn’t get the gig but one of the designs we submitted (Ship of Stories) has gone on to have an extended life. It was made into an aluminium cut out sculpture which has been exhibited in Sculpture by the Sea here in Albany and Sculpture at Bathers Beach in Freo- and has since been purchased by the City of Fremantle to be situated at the Round House. I also lasercut this design as a papercut and woodcut and supply the Forts Store and Fremantle Arts Centre with them.

I have also recently been doing design work for a group in Brisbane called (Urban Art Projects) who make artwork for public spaces. So there is a lot of diversity in the way I work which makes it all really interesting.

Qualities such as passion, perseverance, flexibility, and openness are all good to have in abundance when running a creative business. Energy is a precious thing and when its focused into something you are passionate about it can be a very powerful thing. But you need to cultivate that energy by looking after yourself: Eating well, exercising, taking time out to refuel, and cultivating balance and kindness.

For me the important thing is the journey. I have no doubt I will experience much more as I travel this road and discover and move in new creative directions, especially with the realization that life is too short not to do what makes you happy and what you love doing.


Sculpture in the Harbour Exhibition in Albany

"Ship of Stories" with Sue Codee and Tony Pankiw

 As a part of the amazing ANZAC celebrations here in Albany recently, Sculpture in the Harbour was a unique part of this. A number of West Australian and local artists exhibited their sculptural works in the water along the Entertainment boardwalk precinct, including a collaborative project between Perth artist Tony Pankiw and myself. "Ship of Stories" is an aluminium ship featuring the HMAS Shropshire which was part of the First ANZAC fleet that left Albany. In it are cut out details of the men and horses that travelled on it- lit up at night with small LED lights. It will next be shown at Bathers Beach Sculpture Exhibition in Fremantle in March 2014.

"Ship of Stories" with Albany Entertainment Centre in background


Travel drawings

While currently on extended travelling and soaking up life (via Europe, Iceland and New York) here are a few little travel sketches I have done along the way. All wonderful food to take back to the studio later in the year....
New York
New York
New York
New York
Girl with Red Dress and Cat


Artwork commissioned by the City of Perth commemorating the Perth/ Houston Sister City 30th Anniversary

"Perth/ Houston: 30 Years", papercut and ink, 800 x 1100mm (framed)
 I was recently commissioned by the City of Perth to designs and create a papercut that will be gifted to Houston for the 30th Anniversary of the Perth/ Houston Sister City relationship.

The delicate papercut artwork reflects Perth’s skyline overlooking the winding Swan River. Iconic black swans fly above the city with other birds including parrot and magpie. Wildflowers and vegetation found in Kings Park flow waterfall-like from the picture and include Grevillia and Kangaroo Paw. The artwork is designed so that close inspection will reveal small details.

In the top left hand corner Houston is represented as a tiny distant skyline in the clouds- joined to Perth by a series of umbilical lines.


New Clock design

Introducing me new clock design- a fiery layered woodcut design that measures 35 x 35cm on average and are based in my "The Bird and the Key" design.


The Handmade Exchange interview

 Here's a link to The Handmade Exchange where I recently did an interview:



Best Rural Artist Award at the Royal Agricultural Society Art Awards 2013

Its been a busy few months in the studio with several exhibitions, an artist in residence, a number of commissions, and an art award!!!

Recently I was awarded the Best Rural Artist Award at the Royal Agricultural Society of WA Art Awards in Perth with a multi- layered papercut called "The Bird and the Key #2".The awards night was fun with the other award going to Perth artist Andy Quilty.
"The Bird and the Key #2"

I also spent 4 days as Artist in Residence at Aspects of Kings Park, which is the beautiful design gallery situated at the top of Kings Park in Perth, for the Wildflower Festival and created a special Kings Park papercut. This will be on sale at the gallery from November 20.
Artist in Residence at Aspects of Kings Park
                                                                    "Kings Park, Perth" papercut 2013                                                                    
 "Unconscious ARTiculation" was an exhibition of 8 West Australian artists at the Melody Smith Gallery in Carlisle, Perth- on the theme of the unconscious. In this stunning exhibition I had on show a series of dresses from my "Paper, Scissors, Frock" series.

Unconscious ARTiculation at the Melody Smith Gallery


Upcoming exhibitions

Paper Wildflowers

"Paper Wildflowers" is a new papercut artwork for my exhibition at the stunning Aspects of Kings Park as a feature artist for the Kings Park Wildflower Festival. As well as an exhibition I will be in-store from September 27- 30 from 11am- 3pm daily creating a large Kings Park papercut. See a selection of new jewellery and artwork that I am making for this below.

Also opening on September 6 at 6pm is Unconscious ARTiculation, an exhibition of 6 WA artists, at the Melody Smith Gallery in Carlisle, Perth. In this show I am resurecting my "Paper, Scissors, Frock" papercut series- as the show is about articulating the unconscious and these works were made during my cancer treatment- and were my therapy- directly accessing the unconscious as healing images.

Tree of Life

Human Nature

The Sweetness of Being #2

The Sweetness of Being

Albany Foreshore

Jarrah Tree Bird woodcut

Jarrah Bird hook earings



Oh I am a hopeless blogger! I am far too busy designing and making the work, and running all the elements of the business, than talking about it.....But its time for a bit of an update so here we are.....

June 23 is the next Perth Upmarket so I will be there with a stack of lovely new designs including the "Mothers and Daughters" woodcuts and cards, and new pendants and earings.
"Mother and Daughter #2" woodcuts
 In September I will be instore over 2 weekends at the stunning Aspects of Kings Park as a guest artist for the Kings Park Spring Festival. I will be creating new artworks while there.

Recently I exhibited my "Communitree" papercut at the Minnawarra Art Awards which resulted in the sale of this detailed artwork. I have since created "Communitree #2" which is a highly detailed ink drawing of the "Communitree" design and this will be exhibited in the upcoming Bunbury Bienale. 
Communitree #2 (ink on paper)
"Communitree" (papercut)
Communitree (detail)
 Also in September I will be showing a series of papercut dresses from my "Paper, Scissors, Frock" collection in an exhibition entitled "Unconscious ARTiculation" at the Melody Smith Gallery in Perth.

In the meantime with the onset of the cooler weather its design time- a time to get into playing with new ideas and designing new work, as well as designing a big list of personal commissions. These are a joy to make as I get to meet so many people and have a glimpse into their lives to create artwork that has huge significance and meaning to them and their families. 
Bird stud earings in silver

Mothers and Daughters gift cards

Wildflower coasters in jarrah


Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to you all! I hope that your new year has been a great start. Mine started with a brilliant month in Malaysia with my family relaxing and refuelling in preparation for another exciting year ahead, before we head off for a year of travel in 2014 (including a month in New York which I am really excited about!!!)

2012 was a great year for This Papercut Life. My little courtyard studio & creative business has grown into a full time pursuit and at the end of last year I had to employ someone to help me as it was so crazy busy. As well as work in several exhibitions, and many, many commissions, I also continued to stock some really wonderful shops and galleries run by some fantastic, determined and  inspired people who have a passion for all things art. I also created some metal cut-out banner designs for the Shire of Gnowangerup which were placed in their main street. See the pics below.

As for 2013- as well as keeping up with orders and commissioned works, designing a new range of jewellery and woodcuts, I am also creating a peice for the Bunbury Bienale, and am a part of an exhibition at the Melody Smith Gallery in Perth called "Unconscious ARTiculation.

For me this is all about lifestyle, doing what I love and am passionate about, meeting and connecting with inspiring people along the way, enjoying the journey, as well as meeting lifes challenges head on- and its this that inspires my papercut designs- family, friends, community, neighbourhood, home....life.  

So I look forward to sharing the journey with you through these images..........


Feature Artist of the month on November at Fusion Fine Arts

This month Fusion Fine Arts in Mandurah is featuring my papercuts, woodcuts, and jewellery throughout the gallery. Fusion is a gorgeous gallery down on the quay in Mandurah:  http://www.fusionfinearts.com.au/
Check it out if you are down that way. Here's a little selection of work......

Family Tree #2


Life in the Clouds

Life is Sweet

Mandurah Foreshore

Shelter Me series

Shelter Me series

Tea for Two

The Bird and the Key