Papercut artist Poppy Chancellor is the living embodiment of her work – bold, funny and bounding with an infectious positivity. Under the Poppy's Papercuts moniker she creates strong, clear line designs with her trusty scalpel that will make you laugh, raise your fist in solidarity with the sisterhood, and marvel at the intricacy of her crafty skills.
Her new Papier collection of romantic, female friendship celebrating and cheeky (quite literally) greeting cards are tailor-made for making big, confident declarations of love for Valentine's and Galentine's day. With all that talent, self-expression and sense of humour, we think she's someone who could teach us a few things. So we made a trip to her South London studio to do just that in our latest film.
Watch Poppy's Rules for Love & Life below...
Where does your love of papercuts come from? As a kid I loved silhouettes. My mum used to read me A Necklace of Raindrops, which was illustrated in black outlines. I would draw around shadows and I always played with little fuzzy felt cut-out shapes. Those ideas have definitely stayed with me.
How did you start making your own papercuts? I first tried papercutting after a final project went wrong at art school and I decided to try something totally different. I got a mat and a scalpel and decided to teach myself.
How long did it take you until you felt confident with your papercutting? I've been papercutting for around 6 years and I started to feel confident last year. When you teach yourself a craft it takes a while to really feel like you know what you're doing. Working out who you are as an artist takes a bit of time.
What do you think you can get from a papercut that you can't get from other mediums? I love that a papercut is 3D. They can be fragile and bold all at the same time. My favourite part is the shadows, they cast beautiful shapes in the light.
How would you describe your style? Bold, intricate and cheeky.
How do you decide on what designs to create? I have a few motifs that I love using: hands, figures and text. If I hear a great song lyric or funny saying I always want to create an image around it.
Are you drawing anyone in particular in your designs? I'm really inspired by curvaceous Greek sculpture and Renaissance nudes. I love the idea of updating those images with a modern idea of women. My papercuts are usually based on my friends and I just hanging out.
Is there a message you want to get across in your work? "To amaze and amuse" is a line I often use about my work. I want people to see themselves and hopefully make them laugh. I like my work not being too serious.
What do you listen to while you’re cutting? I always have a documentary or podcast on in the background. I love This American Life and just finished their S Town podcast.
Is it dangerous using a scalpel? I've had to run to A+E a few times for stitches after working late so I try not to do all-nighters any more...
One of our favourite designs in your Papier collection is Sisterhood. What does sisterhood mean to you? I have two sisters who mean the world to me. We're a total girl gang when we get together. Then I have my girlfriends and they're the light of my life. I love going out dancing and getting the giggles for hours on end.
Do you think there’s a romantic within everyone? No! There are lots of people it doesn't come naturally to. Not me – I'm a total romantic and love a grand gesture. I'll probably be the one buying you flowers.
What would be a dream, romantic grand gesture for you? A flash mob! I've watched so many online and always cry... The music would have to be something from Romeo and Juliet with a 10 part harmony. The best!
Why do you think it’s important to express yourself? I think you can get unwell if you don't express what's inside. Mentally or physically. I always feel so much better after having a difficult conversation. Or even after karaoke! Getting out what's inside allows everyone to see who you are deep down.
What's your go-to karaoke tune then? Shania Twain, R Kelly, Aerosmith... There are so many classics. I love a cheesy ballad. Sometimes I go off-piste and start singing songs from The Little Mermaid.
One of your rules for love and life in our video is to have a good sense of humour, can you tell us a joke? "Why did the chicken cross the road?" I actually chased a chicken across the road in Brixton the other day. It was just loose walking down the street! Then a cyclist shouted that to me. It was a very surreal moment.