Meet The Maker | Kirsty Neale

Kirsty NealeKirsty Neale is a freelance writer, illustrator and prolific designer-maker. She specializes in fabric and paper crafts, and enjoys combining new materials with vintage or repurposed finds. We asked Kirsty about her love of papercrafts and her latest book, Paperie

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“I think when you’re a maker, you never really stop gathering inspiration. Ideas are everywhere, and you hoover them up as you go along. I used to carry a notebook for writing down or sketching ideas, but these days the camera on my phone is a much easier option. My picture gallery is full of random images, which would probably mean very little to anyone else scrolling through them!”

Paperie by Kirsty NealeWhy did you choose papercraft as the focus for your second book?
“Fabric and paper are the two materials I enjoy working with the most. I nearly always miss one if I’m working exclusively with the other, and, having spent so long making fabric-based projects for Hoop-la, it was definitely time to swing in the other direction! I was also very aware that most papercraft books focus on either card-making or scrapbooking, and wanted to explore ideas away from those two areas.” 

Do you have favourite projects from the 100 ideas in the book?!
“It changes all the time, but today I’d say the alpine mobile, the faux letterpress poster and the wooden bead necklace. I’m also pretty fond of ‘Paperville’ — it was one of the last projects I finished, and a few of the prototype houses are still sitting on my bookcase all these months later.”

Paperie by Kirsty NealeWhich of the projects was the most fun to design?
“I had an idea labelled as ‘matchbox invitation’ listed on the original book plan right up until the final week of project-making. The idea of turning it into a record player didn’t pop into my head until the very last minute, but once it was there, I knew it was exactly the right thing and I had a huge amount of fun putting the design together. I also really enjoyed working on the envelope organiser, which is probably the largest-scale paper project I’ve ever done, and — as a girl with the eyesight of a garden mole — I was (and still am) excited by the possibilities of the upcycled glasses project too.”

PaperieWhat is the one papercraft technique that you think everyone should try?
“If you haven’t tried papier maché since primary school, it’s definitely worth revisiting. Start with something simple (the papier maché dots bowl in Paperie is a good bet), and try using pieces of tissue rather than newspaper, for a really fine finish, which doesn’t need painting afterwards.”

What are your top tips for crafters who’d like to experiment more with paper?
“One of the best things about trying out papercrafts is the minimal cost involved to get started. You can experiment to your heart’s content, with very little to lose. In the first instance, you might even want to recycle free materials like magazine pages, junk mail, cardboard boxes and scrap paper from your office — just about anything which allows you to cut, fold and try out ideas before committing to more expensive papers.”

Paperie by Kirsty NealeDo you have any hints for upcoming trends?
“Aztec-inspired prints, confetti dots, hand-lettering, and lots of gold are all things to keep an eye out for. I also think neon is here to stay (for a while at least), especially used in small amounts alongside natural or neutral shades.”

What are you working on at the moment?
“A new book idea, which is top secret right now! I’ve also been busy decorating our living space over the last few months, and am just getting to the really fun part — finishing touches like making art for the walls and new cushions for the sofa.”

If you’ve been inspired by papercraft, get your copy of Paperie today or download the PDF eBook for instant access to the projects. To find out more about Kirsty, check out our previous interview with her, visit her blog and follow her on Twitter.



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