Discovering the most personally expressive art form has been something of a journey for Oxhey-based artist Suzy Taylor, whose work is currently on display at the Artistsmeet Gallery in Rickmansworth.
Suzy tells me art has always been a driving force from growing up in Stanmore and through school at the North London Collegiate where she studied art to A level. She then attended Warwick University, where she studied Comparative American Studies including the history, politics and literature of North and Latin America, which in part led to her appreciation of folk art.
While living in Finchley for 15 years, Suzy, a mother-of-three, had a successful business making mezuzahs (cases that hold the prayer scrolls and are placed by the door of a Jewish home). Still, she was searching for an all-consuming artistic passion.
In 2007, she began experimenting with papercutting, beginning with a simple outline but before long she became adept at creating intricate designs.
“I love the freedom of folk art,“ she tells me from her Oxhey studio where the family moved last August. “I enjoy creating free-flowing organic forms but in keeping with the folk art tradition, my work usually reflects themes of nature and rural life, so you’ll see lots of birds, animals, flowers and cross-sections through houses.“
The art of papercutting began in China in the 6th Century and in its different forms encompasses batik design and silhouettes.
All Suzy’s designs are hand-drawn in meticulous detail. Looking at her current design for a decorative letter I can see how delicate and precise her cutting technique is. She uses subtle contouring
to give shape to individual leaves and fruits, so they appear as 3-D objects not a flat piece of paper.
It is no wonder Suzy is increasingly gaining attention for her work. She has already been commissioned by the Pottery Barn in America where two of her designs will grace bowls, mugs and other gift ware. She is currently working on a high profile commission, which will be revealed later this year.
Although new to the Bushey and Oxhey community, Suzy says she has been welcomed by Hertfordshire Visual Arts Forum with open arms and she is looking forward to taking part in Open Studios in September.
Since other papercutting artists have been generous to her, Suzy is happy to pass techniques on and as well as demonstrating her skills at Artistsmeet on select days during the show’s run, she also runs workshops from home.
While I marvel at her ability to slice into flimsy pieces of paper in such a confident and creative fashion, Suzy is adamant that it’s not a difficult way of working.
“Anyone can do it,“ she says. “Unlike painting where you have to buy lots of expensive brushes, paints and canvasses all you need for papercutting is a mat, a knife and some paper. To get started the materials will only cost you around £15.“
Folk Art Papercuts by Suzy Taylor is at Artistsmeet, Watersmeet, High Street, Rickmansworth until Friday, August 31. Open: Monday to Friday, from 10am-4pm. Details: www.facebook.com/artistsmeet, www.folkartpapercuts.blogspot.co.uk