Meet Charlie Trimm of Folksy store By Charlie’s Hand, she’s brilliant – I don’t need to say anymore than that.
How long have you been selling on Folksy?
I have been selling on Folksy for just over a year I started by listing a few original paper cuts but now it is my main selling place for prints, greetings cards and silk screen printed cushion covers which are the latest addition to my product range. Available today!
Tell us about your work?
I am a papercutter. I cut quite well placed holes in paper that make pretty images and words. I hand draw all my images and designs in pencil and then everything is handcut using a scalpel. I apparently have lots of patience and a steady hand but I just really enjoy papercutting despite the fact that it can hurt like crazy sometimes and I lose my fingerprints on a regular basis. I create original papercuts which are printed onto greetings cards and cushion covers, a range of giclee prints and and a jewellery collection that was made in collaboration with another amazing Folksy seller Molly Ginnelly Jewellery and I take on commissions on a limited basis. I use lots of nature in my papercuts, birds and trees are the most regular features and there is quite a bit of structure and symmetry to my work. I have the OCD side of me that appears in my artwork, as a whole I am methodical and this has come through in my work especially since doing my degree.
What’s your favourite piece of work?
Oh can I pick two please? It’s too difficult to pick one!
My first favourite piece would be the A2 size A-Z of flowers heart I was commissioned to make as a donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care which was auctioned in aid of the charity and raised £450 which was amazing. I sadly lost my grandmother to cancer in September last year and when I was approached to do it we had unfortunately found out that her illness was terminal but she had wonderful care and support from the cancer nurses that looked after her and I was pleased to help someone else receive the same type of care so to raise £450 was beyond all my expectations and I am so proud to have made it for such a good cause as I think it is a gorgeous piece and it will hopefully make a difference to many.
My second piece would be the family trees I make, I love putting peoples families together and seeing the diversity of the relationships that all equate to a family, I always think they show the precious people in my customers lives and I really enjoy making them as even though I cut quite a lot of them I never get bored of cutting the intricate little branches and twigs and including the charms that have special or significance meaning to the family.
When did it all begin for you?
I have always been creative and artistic but I would say that I have wanted to have a career as an artist since I was around 14 so from there I started to specialise in it within my education, through GCSE’s and then A level Art in college (which was terrible and I got an E grade at A level oops!) I did a BTEC National Diploma in Fine Art then went to the University of Wales, Newport and gained a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree in 2010 but I didn’t start papercutting until December 2010 as I mainly painted during my degree. I have adored Rob Ryan’s work for a good couple of years now and I just thought I would give papercutting a go for fun found out that it was very addictive, then people said that liked my pieces and were interested in buying it and it’s actually become my full time job so my dream to have a career as an artist is on the right path which is amazing.
Tell us about your work space? Favourite place to work?
My work space is the front room of my parents house in which I have a lovely desk that is usually a huge mess to work at, it is usually covered with paper/post it notes/pens/pencils/bits of rubber/blu tack apart from the patch of my cutting mat which I cut on and my MacBook Pro and a space for my cup of tea to live. I am organised in certain ways the piles of mess do have some semblance of order to them and I know where things are, I just cannot seem to keep tidy whilst I am working. But my paper is kept in accordion files and is arranged in colour order and if I buy new paper I reorganise the files to slot the new paper in the appropriate place within the spectrum which is a little bit obsessive compulsive but I love putting this in colour order I think this is just a long standing thing for me as my degree painting work was all about colour.
My printer lives on the floor as I haven’t quite figured out where it’s permanent home is just yet and my desk is next to my great grandmothers huge, lovely old, art deco dresser which she bought second hand in the 1940’s for about £20 which was obviously a fortune back then but we think was originally made in the 1920’s and it has lots of lovely things in old and new in it.
I haven’t always had this space I have moved up in the world from first papercutting on a board on my lap sat on my bed to taking over the kitchen table and having to pack away every day for dinner before my parents decided to get rid of our ancient (coal powered) desktop PC and allow me to use the computer desk and then they were super lovely and bought me a new desk with storage shelves from Ikea. My parents are awesome and put up with the tiny bits of paper I spread around the house and how I have taken over the front room and turned it into a kind of studio for myself.
How do you keep your work unique?
I just try to do things my own way, I hand draw all my designs which I believe helps make it unique as I always think my drawing is bold, it seems quite graphic and childish to me, so I think you can see my drawing style in my cuts and use my own hand writing as much as possible to keep it very me and unique. I do use fonts sometimes but I limit the variety I use so it fits in with the rest of my work. I don’t computer design, mainly because I am useless as it so I think my work is more organic and has less structure compared to some other papercut works I have seen. I do look at other artists and papercutters and try to avoid ideas that have already been done or if there is a certain subject I want to do I try to make it my own.
How do you know when a piece is done?
I don’t consciously think about when a piece is done, I usually reach a natural stopping point when I am drawing without even thinking about it, I think it’s an instinctual feeling that if anymore is added it will be too much, and then start cutting. If I find after a piece has been cut it could be improved I just do another drawing and cut it again, usually though this doesn’t happen until much later as I have found as I have gotten better at cutting and have more skill/confidence some of my older works look simpler or sparse and so recutting them means they are more detailed and intricate.
Describe your day as a maker?
I do have a bit of a routine, generally have a nice cup of tea and do admin first thing in the morning, reply to emails and check out my social network pages/profiles before I start drawing or cutting pieces. I settle down and do a good days work then and I am usually working until around 10.30-11pm I do work quite late most days but I am much more of a night owl than an early bird. It is quite flexible and I enjoy it being a relaxed day where I go with the flow and cut/draw/print/email/write/package as and when it is needed to be done.
What three tools could you not live without?
Scalpel, pencils and my Macbook Pro, without pencils I would have no designs to cut out and without the scalpel I would have nothing to cut with so I would have lots of very nice coloured paper with nothing on it. I couldn’t do anything with my Macbook as probably about 95% of my business comes from online sales/contact very little of my work is sold in I suppose ‘real life’ so having the internet and access to such a wide and diverse audience means I have a market for my work and a wider appreciation of it.
What gets the creative juices flowing when creativity is stifled?
Tea! Copious amounts of tea! I am a tea addict and if I feel I am not working well or have a block about a design I have a nice cup of tea and forget about work for a little while watch some TV or read and when I go back to my desk I generally find things start working out and the creative juices are flowing nicely again.
Are you inspired by any artists?
Rob Ryan is what I call my ‘Papercut Hero’ he is the reason I started papercutting as I liked his work so much I thought I would give it a go and it turned out I was pretty good at it too! Other paper cutters include Su Blackwell who never ceases to amaze me and I adore the way she cuts books as I would never have the courage to do so as I think books are very precious so I admire her having the guts to cut them!
Heather Moore‘s work is so simple in plain black but beautifully executed and Patricia Zapata uses layering and basic colours in her work and both’s methods make their work striking and I admire their skills.
Antony Gormley I love the scale of his work and he is very repetitive using his own body as a form, Rachel Whiteread, Anish Kappor, Ian Davenport for his use of colour, Richard Long due to his simplicity and one of my most treasured possessions is a signed book of ‘Countless Stones’. I love artists who are systematic and embrace scale and their media whole heartedly.
What do you love most about being a maker?
Being able to be create something new and beautiful everyday and the freedom to chose when I work and what I do. I love the process of a little spark of an idea growing and maturing into a full piece.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
I would like to still be papercutting to my hearts content every day and hopefully earning a decent living from it and have an expanded product range with items and works in shops and galleries. I’d love to have an extensive portfolio and be able to do more collaborations like the one I did with jewellery designer and maker Molly Ginnelly with the ‘When Molly met Charlie’ collection and just be a success and continuing with the dream career!
What would you say to any makers starting out?
Never stop loving and enjoying what you are doing you cannot create wonderful things if you do not love or enjoy creating it! Network as much as possible, there is loads of help and support out there so find it and use it. Self promote; there are so many free platforms to use, I will call them ‘social media’ here but we all know what I really mean, and take advantage of any opportunity that is offered to you; you cannot afford to say no. I never thought when I graduated in 2010, that I would be a self employed artist so soon, but the best thing you can do is be realistic about what you can achieve. Set yourself little goals and make smaller plans rather than larger ones so they are achievable, we would all love to do the big things, but the ground work needs to be laid. Don’t run before you can walk and never undersell yourself.
You can buy all of Charlie’s products, plus her BRAND SPANKING NEW cushions on her Folksy shop from today!