I am a winter baby. I am more content, more creative and more myself when the nights are darker and the days fleeting. I love that darkness is creeping forwards as I'm leaving work, making a clear distinction between the working day and the evening that is all mine. I love that I can fill the flat with candlelight and that the act of lighting those candles and watching them burn will fill me with a glow that doesn't compare to simply switching on a lamp. Dark nights feed my imagination and radiate energy that feeds me in a way that summer nights don't.
So it was on a dark, rainy night that I decided to begin cutting away at my Paperchase bunting. I can't say I had much of a plan, I just wanted to cut something that I can keep up on our expansive bare walls. When I really started out papercutting in my third year at uni, fairly late on in the year, I discovered that cutting didn't have to be prescriptive. I could use a scalpel to doodle; I never cut using a printed design, I either sketched something out and watched it change and develop as I cut, or I dove in without anything drawn out. There's nothing quite like doodling with a scalpel. In high school my art teacher was very strict about the use of erasers: they weren't to be used. I think that's one of the most important things I learnt from her, and the progression to scalpel many years later, helped to solidify that for me. Go with the mistakes. Think about each cut so that there are no mistakes. Make each "wrong" cut into a new "right" cut.
I've learnt a lot from papercutting about expectations and flexibility. Compared to painting or drawing, I feel considerably more comfortable with a scalpel and experience much less angst when I get started. While papercutting may be my favourite way to doodle, I discovered when receiving my degree marks that others like to see the build-up (so close to a first, if only I'd sketch-booked!), which is why I've decided I better get documenting some of my ideas before cutting.
When it comes to drawing in a sketchbook I feel much less in control and much more critical of myself. Perhaps that's why I've avoided it so much? As per, "to do more sketchbooking" will be one of my (many) New Year's resolutions, and hopefully I'll get into the habit of sharing bits and bobs here.
Have you got any New Year's resolutions that pop up every year?