Papercut artist Poppy Chancellor (Poppy’s Papercuts to Papier fans) and her actress mother Anna Chancellor have always been very close. With spring being the season of both International Women's Day and Mother's Day, we asked them both to tell us about how their relationship has evolved over the years and what they’ve learnt from each other.
Poppy on Anna
"The way I see myself and the beauty of the female form was all taught to me by my mum from a young age. I had so much fun growing up! I remember being about 6 and mum letting me paint all over her when she was sunbathing.
We’ve always been best friends. We spent every day together when I was little because mum brought me up on her own. Now she lives in a different city so we call on FaceTime and get the giggles doing impressions of people we’ve met that week. And mum sleeps on my sofa every few months when she’s visiting London for work.
She is so confident and wildly brave. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. From the cab driver to the waitress. She says whatever she thinks and gets exactly what she wants. I never complain in restaurants because mum has already run in to the kitchen to berate the chef.
I wish I had a little more of my mum’s fearlessness. I’m very anxious and I need a bit more of mum’s playful approach to life. She’s also very compassionate and I can be a little cold. She actually stops people in the street and offers to drive them home if it’s getting a bit late.
We both know the importance of creativity, speaking your mind and looking after your friends. We’re also both very lazy creatures who love spending the day in bed watching documentaries. And we love to cook together! I’m good at the chopping and very neat and mum has all the foodie knowledge. The meals we’ve made together are iconic but apart we’re rubbish!
I really believe that we are one soul. Our characters can be quite opposite but our vibe is the same. Very emotional, very loving and always laughing.
She always said you have to do what you love. I saw her struggle and I saw her succeed, which showed me anything was possible. I was her biggest fan and now she’s mine."
Anna on Poppy
"I remember watching Poppy in the kitchen doing a dance with a feather boa and thinking wow, she’s seriously good. Those moves! We were always always playing. We’d play my favourite game: Who’s better looking, you or me?! And we’d scream with laughter.
There was an intensity to our relationship when Poppy was young. High octane. It was a very extreme life for Poppy to fit in to and her moods were wild. Now it’s a calmer, deeper and more mature relationship. She doesn’t need me in the same way she needed me. Now I need her. I always needed her.
People always say, ‘Oh my God! You guys are so similar!’ I find that such a compliment because in my eyes she’s an upgrade from me. We have a great exuberance and love for the world around us. We get maximum joy from the everyday.
I used to love going for long walks with my own mum and now Poppy and I love doing that together. We’re such tree huggers. I rub the trunk of the tree like it’s the trunk of an elephant.
I hate reading lines with Poppy. She is always impatient and strict and much better at saying the lines than I am. She takes the piss out of the script and then I don’t know how to take it seriously afterwards.
We don’t often fall out. But if we do, we make up quickly. We’re very lucky that we actually find it easy to speak to each other. We enjoy being mother and daughter. Above all it’s a relationship that we want to work. It’s very important to us. We mutually scramble back to safe land as soon as possible.
My husband commissioned a beautiful papercut in Arabic that Poppy made for me. It’s in a gold circular frame that hangs in the kitchen. Our house is covered in her work, it’s like a retrospective.
I’m going to help her at a workshop this week! She gets irritated by me being forgetful and messy so I might be a hindrance. She’s a great teacher which I’m so proud of.
Despite being a bitch, she’s very kind. She has deep humanity and is very thoughtful. We know that we will run the course together. We will be there for each other, whoever goes first! I want her to have children and come and live near me. Can she start thinking about when she’s going to do that please!"
If you're inspired by Poppy and Anna's words, send your mum, daughter or another woman in your life a note with one of Poppy's cards.