Su Owen – Interview
Paper Cuts and Illustrations
Norwich based paper-cut artist extraordinaire Su Owen designs original text based paper-cut artwork as well as beautiful hand-cut paper lanterns and shadow puppets. She recently designed our latest poster and will be setting up shop at Clutter City on Sat 8 December.
We caught up with Su to find out a bit more about her and her work…
Can you give us a brief intro to who you are and what you do?
I am a Surface Pattern Designer. I am from Bolton originally but have been in Norwich for over 20 yrs now. At present I am illustrating and doing paper-cuts. I run paper-cut workshops for adults at Norwich Arts Centre.
Workshop details for next year can be found on the Norwich Arts Centre website here.
Where and what did you study and where did it lead you?
I first studied at Bolton Art College and then Dewsbury & Batley College of Art. I did my degree in (92) at Staffordshire Uni in Surface Pattern. I did some freelance work for a bit, some in London and some from home for stationary, wrapping paper etc. Then I made gifts for contemporary art galleries which suited me as I had two kids by then (97). I did that until my teacher training in 2000, then I taught until 2010 and that’s when I decided to set up a cafe in Norwich. I enjoyed all the creative aspects of setting it up but just didn’t fully grasp how hard sustaining such a venture could be especially in todays economic climate so moved on from this in March 2012. I miss the acoustic music nights we ran but started designing again straight away which has led me to opening up an etsy shop and producing artwork to sell.
How did your studies influence your style?
I still love textiles (it’s my first love) I love pattern and would jump at the chance at getting into that industry but like all the arts it’s very competitive
What are you doing when you’re not creating?
I like reading, going to exhibitions especially in different countries when possible. I also enjoy DIY, my house is an ongoing project.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am aiming to produce more large one-off/bespoke pieces in addition to smaller pieces like the paper lanterns and shadow puppets. I have enjoyed making the paper lanterns as they do look pretty when lit up.
What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
I am returning to teaching next February after a couple of years break as I miss the interaction with young adults (the age range I teach) I hope to carry on designing and making either for other people or for personal satisfaction. I am looking forward to working in textiles again.
Who do you admire out there in the illustrative / arts or crafts world?
I recently got a book by the illustrator Olaf Hajek, his work is so vibrant and stunning – it makes me want to paint again. I enjoy the limitations of working with just one colour when I cut paper but sometimes miss working with colours and layers.
Do you have any favourite blogs you like to keep an eye on?
I keep coming across blogs all the time and find them quite addictive. There is one called ‘Discover Paper’ and a blog by the paper-cut artist Elsa Mora. Pinterest can also be addictive but I find it a really useful resource and I keep all the things that inspire me there.
Lastly what are your tips or inspiring words for other crafters / designers out there?
If you enjoy it keep doing it. Inspiration can be found in the most mundane things…. and….