Workshop: Pippa Dyrlaga
made in Yorkshire
Nice to meet you Pippa. Tell us a little bit about you.
I am an artist based in Yorkshire, England.
I use single sheets of paper to create contemporary artworks using traditional paper cutting techniques. My work is inspired by nature and the things I encounter around me.
I first started paper cutting in around 2009/2010 whilst I was studying and fell in love with the simple medium I have worked with since.
“My dream world: calm and colourful “
The Commission of my Dreams
“I would love to do a huge tapestry style piece filled with all the beautiful natural things in the world.”
A WORLD OUTSIDE THIS WORLD
What are you exactly?
I refer to myself as an artist. Most of the time a paper artist, but also as a printmaker.
I think I have always thought of my work as being in a different world though. To me they all have life and movement and exist somewhere. I am simply trying to capture a frozen moment of that.
WORK FROM HOME
Where is home?
I moved to Hebden in 2014, after living in the City of Leeds.
I am from Mirfield, originally (the same place Patrick Stewart is from!) Its is close by so I already knew it, but after getting disillusioned with life in a city, the draw of a beautiful place with a well know creative community was really inviting for me. I love it here.
I work from home and sit next to a window with a beautiful view of the valley, and my dog at my feet. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
Getting up early is the secret
My typical day can vary, but mainly consists of being in my studio working on current projects. It is quite labour intensive with long periods of sitting at my desk, so I try and break the day up with admin tasks and other bits and bobs!
I get up early, and so my work day starts at around 8am, and can sometimes go until 10pm (with breaks of course!) I am lucky that I get to do something I enjoy so much so it’s as much a pleasure for me as it is work.
WINDOW HANGINGS PAPER CUT [Commission], Pippa Dyrlaga.
PAPER, TRANSFORMED INTO ART
What is your relationship to paper?
At first, paper was just a material to get what I needed done. Then it became quite a good choice because of the availability of the material as I was studying at the time. After a short while, I started to appreciate the material itself, its simplicity and varied types. Now it’s something I really love. I am a paper nerd. I love how different it can be and love to experiment with different types.
I recently started looking into more sustainable papers, and came across Japanese washi papers, which are both light as a feather and strong and I love working with it. It’s such a simple, every day material, but what it’s used for can both be thrown away and revered, it’s interwoven into history. I could go on and on.
If I say ``paper``, what first comes to your mind?
Half finished pieces of work laying out on my desk, stacks of clean fresh paper waiting to be turned into something, handwritten notes and stacks of books. So more of a place filled with paper!
HEART OF SPRING, Pippa Dyrlaga.
A PEAK FROM YOUR WINDOW
What do you see, hear and smell?
The window is right next to the left hand side of my desk and outside is a lovely view of the valley I live in, and lots of trees. There are always lots of birds around and faint noises from the town. I usually have some music playing in the background, something nice and calm!
I can also usually hear my dog snoring away by my feet somewhere.
My favourite smell is in the winter, when the town has a lingering smell of wood burning stoves in the air, I wish I could sit with my window open!
IN MY OFFICE, Pippa Dyrlaga.
WHAT MATTERS MOST
Tell us about a commission that was really special to you
It wasn’t technically a commission, but I worked with a local gallery to produce an original and edition of prints to fundraise following the terrorist attack in Manchester last year. We sold them all and raised a nice sum for a local charity that works with children, and were working with the kids and families that were directly and indirectly affected by the events.
It’s almost exactly a year ago now so it is nice to look back and think that I made even a small amount of difference.
STEP BY STEP
Walk us through the artwork you developped with us
So I chose the paper from Impression Originale Collection “On the Bird’s wing” for my piece. The first thing I did was to research the artist, Eugène Séguy, that the paper was inspired by!
After this, I have to select the paper I will use. I chose my favourite paper to work on, which is a 36gsm washi paper from Japan. It is so incredibly light and thin but very strong and perfect for fine details.
The work is quite symmetrical with two birds touching beaks in the air, so I first drew a rough outline of the composition. This is always just a basic outline as I add detail in as I am working.
Once the layout was decided, I cut out the most detailed sections first, so started with the wings. They are all slightly different. This can take a while and I cut out each feather individually.
Once the wings are completed, I move on to the tails. I added small details into the wings and body that are inspired by the random geometric shapes in the bird wings of the original design. Its very labour intensive, each piece is very small and can be less than a millimetre thick. I use an incredibly sharp blade, and change them frequently to keep the sharp tip I need.
After all details have been cut out, its time to cut it free from the paper. This one will be very delicate as the two birds are only connected by the tips of their beaks, so it takes a lot of care and delicate handling once it is removed.
THE PERFECTION OF A CIRCLE
If shapes and curves were emotions, which one would you be?
A circle. Emotions come and go, they are cyclical. You can’t have the same emotions all the time, but you will have them again. People aren’t meant to feel the same way all of the time.
Share a little secret...
I am 34 years old and I haven’t learnt to drive yet because it makes me so nervous!
ON THE BIRD’S WING [Collaboration with IMPRESSION ORIGINALE], Pippa Dyrlaga.
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Mathilde HabertAll stories by: Mathilde Habert
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