Cutting Edge: contemporary paper art at Mottisfont Abbey in Romsey

By Jenni Davidson | 16 November 2011
A picture of a red paper cut with a boy and a bird sitting on a fence.
Rob Ryan, Your Job (2010). Papercut© Rob Ryan
Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art, Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey, until January 29 2012

Paper craft is an age-old art that goes back to ancient China and Japan, but it has been given a modern twist at Mottisfont Abbey by a group of contemporary paper artists.

Rob Ryan, Ed Kluz, John Dilnot, Eileen White, Sally Sheinman and Jonny Hannah use techniques including collage, paper cuts and printmaking to transform plain paper into a variety of fragile and unique sculptures and illustrations.

A photograph of a glass tube with a paper sculpture inside it with a historic house being oevrgrown by trees.
Ed Kluz, The Gothic Temple
© Ed Kluz
Rob Ryan is currently one of the most highly sought-after paper cut artists in Britain. He originally trained as printmaker, but now specialises in whimsical cut outs - each one made from one single sheet of paper - which can take anything from a day to several weeks to create.

John Dilnot's work has appeared at the British Library and the New York Museum of Modern Art. He creates dynamic three-dimensional scenes inside glass-fronted boxes. In them, flocks of birds fly across maps or sit on the branches of giant trees.

Artist and illustrator Jonny Hannah takes his inspiration from the world of jazz, as well as historical characters, fonts and vintage poster art for his paintings, linocuts and screen prints, and Ed Kluz uses mixed media including gouache, ink, wax, wire and cut paper to create uncanny gothic landscapes inspired by historic buildings and folklore.

Eileen White and Sally Sheinman have both used Mottisfont and its visitors as the starting point for their pieces. White has designed a 15ft long paper mobile of leaves and flowers inspired by the Mottisfont gardens, which floats in the drafts of the old house.

Sheinman's giant sculpture, Being Human, is made from 25,000 pieces of gold Japanese rice paper representing the genes in the human genome. She is asking visitors what makes them unique and getting them to add to the installation by contributing suggestions in their own words about people they want to celebrate.

If the only paper you plan to encounter this Christmas is wrapping paper, then perhaps it's time to head along to Mottisfont for a little more inspiration.

  • Open 11am-5pm (dusk if earlier, closed Tuesday-Thursday until November 28 and December 20-25). Admission £7.60/£3.80 (family ticket £19).
More pictures from the exhibition:

A photo of a wooden box with a glass front with a map of Surrey and Sussex inside and paper swallows flying across it.
John Dilnot, Pocket Atlas - Heading South© John Dilnot
A picture with a pink castle in the centre surrounded by tree and flowers and people in historic dress.
Ed Kluz, Blickling Hall
© Ed Kluz
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