The design process always starts with research. I go out and collect things or sketch and photograph them and I read about the plants and insects I am about to make. I try to find out as much about them as I can so I know how and why they do what they do. If you can understand how something grows or moves or where you will find it you can begin to imagine how they would fit into a scene or collection.
I will then use this research to start designing the sculptures that are going into a new piece. I try to find photographs of the species I want to make that show it from all sorts of different angles. Sometimes these are my own, sometimes they’re images found on the internet.
I always try to experiment before making something new. I try different shapes and papers to see which ones work best. I think experimenting is one of the most important stages of the process because even if it goes wrong you learn something useful. Once I'm happy with it I will create a technical sketch and templates to build the final piece from.
Everything I make is drawn and then cut by hand. The insects have bodies which are carved from stacks of paper and then covered with paper shells. The butterflies’ wings are embroidered by hand to keep their patterns accurate and the threads close together. These are very time consuming processes which means a bug can take anything from 30 minutes to 3 hours to make and the butterflies can take from 1-10 hours to stitch and assemble.
Some of the sculptures I create make use of the colours and textures found in the papers I collect, like the background of a photograph in a magazine or the bumps in a screwed up old paper bag. Some of the piece are also painted using watercolours or inks, creating more natural tones and patterns.
You can find out more about my processes and what inspires me by following me on social media or signing up to my not-so-frequent newsletter!