Thursday Showcase No.19 – Red Rose Designs

Paper cutters – they are like buses – none for ages then two at once! As you will remember we met a lovely paper cutter last week, and this week we are meeting an equally lovely paper cutter who I am sure you are going to love. The one other thing I should mention about Jo is that she is super helpful and friendly to a group of us paper cutters – always there with a helpful bit of adivce or a kind word. Read on and find out more….

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
My name is Joanne Woolley. I’m originally from a small town in Derbyshire but I now live with my husband in a lovely village in Warwickshire just outside of Tamworth. (Dordon) We have lovely views over the countryside which is really inspiring when it comes to my design work.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?

I’ve been crafting using various mediums and doing art work from a very young age. I have always liked to try out new crafts and techniques which have allowed me to brighten up my home and make unique gifts for friends.The paper cutting side of things started as a hobby about two/three years ago when I had a car accident as it allowed me to stay busy at a time when I was not so mobile. I had to give up my job in construction and figured as it was something I was good at I could turn it into a business to get me back into work again.

3. What is the hardest part of your work?

The hardest part of my job is finding enough hours in the day to do everything. I love turning sheets of paper into pretty works of art but with that comes paper work and tax returns! With there only being only Me, Myself and I to do it all you have to make sure you are on the ball at all times. I would love to be able to pay someone to do all the boring paperwork parts of the job so I can concentrate on the artistic side of things.

4. And what is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is working with my clients and hearing their feedback. When you have designed something special and meaningful for them to enjoy for years to come there is no better feeling. I always get a kick out of their kind words and that makes what I do for a living a joy rather than a job. It’s nice to hear what the piece means to the person and the reason behind them buying it. I love the fact that I can personalise designs to their needs so they can get what they want rather than going to a main high street chain in which everything is so impersonal.

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?

I class myself as a paper cutting artist but I guess I could be called a crafter/designer/creative. I just feel the title ‘ paper cutting artist’ is a great conversation piece which generates interest as not many people have heard of it before so they always want to know more. I always keep photographs on my phone to show people as you can never fully explain what they look like.  

6. Who from the creative world do you admire?

I admire anyone who uses their creative juices to make their own craftwork in any medium. I don’t think you have to be famous in order to have other people admire your work. In the paper cutting world Rob Ryan is very well known for his work and he has some amazing designs but there are a lot of paper cutters out there who are not so well known in which I admire. Suzy Taylor from Folk art paper cuts being one of them.

7. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from the world around me. I can be out shopping when an object catches my eye, hear a song with a lyric in which projects an image into my head or even singing a nursery rhyme with my niece and nephews. You are only ever limited by your imagination and mine tends to wander free which helps when it comes to thinking of something new. I am also inspired by some of the ideas my clients come up with in their briefs. One that really pushed my thinking cap was a brief for a window cleaning design which had lots of words which needed to be joined together but in the end I was very pleased with the results.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?

I tend to have the radio on when I’m working as I work more productively when I’m sat in my office. I have to admit I do sit and sing along (badly) to the songs that they play and also talk back to the presenters. Did I mention that it helps to be a paper cutter if you are slightly mad? It’s hard to watch the TV and either cut or draw up a design so I don’t tend to have it on.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In five years time I see myself as being more established with a good portfolio of work behind me with lots of varied designs. I have plans to branch out into working with some other mediums so my designs can be reproduced onto other items. I’m currently working alongside someone who can help make this possible. I would also like to be in a position where I can start to take on employees who can clean glass frames and do paper work/accounts etc giving me more time to concentrate on the design side of the business.

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!

I’ve given up a lot of time in order to get the business off the ground but I wouldn’t call it a sacrifice as I have really enjoyed the time I have invested into the business. I had already lost my job due to a car accident so I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to set up on my own before then but now I have I would never look back. It is harder than being employed by someone else but the rewards make it worth it. I’ve sliced into my fingers with my scalpel so I guess you could say there has been a bit of blood shed but with the help of a sticky plaster I managed to carry on. 
So there you go, now you know a little it about the lovely Jo. To find out more, go and visit her website and why not pop over to Facebook and like her page?

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