This swallowtail butterfly was one of twelve squares on a poster I designed for an eight year-old girl. When I started making cut paper collages, it didn’t occur to me to make greeting cards; all of my designs fitted within the Ikea RIBBA frame (window size 29cm x 39cm). A few months into my new business, I thought of taking my six favourite squares from each poster, and turning them into a separate greeting card.
I regard myself as an artist, rather than a greeting card designer. I make my art because I love the creatures and places I portray, the people I make it for and for the sheer joy of working with scissors and paper. As my nine year-old recently observed, the sound of scissors cutting through paper is very soothing. I loved hearing this because no matter how much I draw and paint, I always come back to the medium of cut paper.
There is something so satisfying about the clean lines and bright colours; the way you draw on the back of the card, and then flip it over to be scanned or framed. Nobody sees the rough scribbles, the mistakes. All the viewer sees is the perfect, unblemished card stock, standing to attention in its 9cm square, right where it belongs. I love the illusion of perfection. It makes me think of the social media which gobble up so much of our lives now: on the surface and through the screen, our lives are set in place with every tiny piece in the right spot. Perfect. And that is exactly how it should be, because even with the glue smears and scruffy marks on our psyches we are still perfect.