A local artist is this weekend sharing with islanders an intricate skill that allows her to tell stories through paper.
Layla May Arthur, a Jersey artist who sees great creative potential in a simple piece of paper, is running workshops at Jersey Museum this weekend in the hope that people will recognise paper cutting “as an art form, rather than a craft.”
Layla, who was recently nominated for the prestigious Tastemaker of the Year Award at this year’s Jersey Style Awards, is the latest artist to make use of the museum’s ‘Makers’ Space’ which has become home to many different creative workshops.
Pictured: The workshops are taking place at the Jersey Museum.
When asked why she wants to share the skill of paper cutting with newcomers to the medium, Layla said: “Paper cutting is viewed by many as a niche within the art world but I consider being a part of this community an opportunity, rather than a limitation… Paper cutting gives power back to paper in its simplicity, creating an experience of visual storytelling parallel to reading; where the paper becomes the story itself.”
Speaking about what she hopes people will take away from her course this weekend, she said: “I would really like to encourage other people to see the significance of paper itself as a mean to communicate stories and for paper cutting to be recognised as an art form, rather than a craft.”
It was actually through a workshop with visiting artists Karen Bit Vejle and Xiaoguang Qiao brought over by ArtHouse Jersey as part of their ‘Paper Dialogues’ project that Layla discovered her gift for paper cutting.
Layla went on to exhibit with these world-renowned paper artists and local maker Emma Reid at the Centre for Paper Art in Denmark.
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Despite being a relative newcomer to the medium herself, Layla hasn’t wasted any time since discovering the art of paper cutting two years ago.
The fine art student at the Minerva Art Academy in the Netherlands creates immensely detailed works – the most recent of which was a panelled paper cut installation dedicated to each of the 12 parishes of Jersey and her childhood memories of them.
Of this and her experience making art between Jersey and the Netherlands, Layla said: “I believe artists should make art work from what they know and moving away to study in the Netherlands while making this piece really emphasised to me how well I know Jersey; as all my experiences up until that point had been island based.
“I think an artist’s artwork grows as the artist grows and making my paper cutting piece about Jersey came at the right time in my life where I was reflecting on my Jersey childhood as I was moving on to other things.”
Pictured: 'Jersey: My Childhood Home' by Layla Arthur.
Speaking about the plan for her workshops this weekend, Layla said: “Paper cutting is all about negative space, which parts of the paper to cut away and which pieces to leave. My workshop is mainly going to focus on getting your brain to consider how you can cut out the shape you want from the paper so that the whole piece stays connected and doesn't fall apart.
“Paper cutting is all about composing an image so all the different elements of paper are connected as the artwork is often very delicate and needs paper connections to stay strong. We will then consider how paper cutting can be very versatile in making 3D pieces and stop motion videos from our creations."
Speaking about Jersey Museum's new ‘Makers’ Space’, Layla described it as “a brilliant initiative for local artists.”
She continued: “We have a lot of talented people in Jersey who need to be given the opportunities to show the world what they can achieve.”
Pictured top: Layla and her work. (Erika Schneider Photography)
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