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I think the ongoing demise of the handwritten letter & the ‘snail mail’ posting of cards or notes to mark occasions (special or otherwise) is rather sad. A txt msg or email will never be a good substitute for receiving an interesting piece of post – you can’t beat the excitement and anticipation of finding an intriguing envelope waiting for you in your letterbox! And what about penmanship?! Do the kids still handwrite… you know, with ink and actual pens?

I love this postcard, found a couple of years ago at the wonderful (but now sadly closed down update: open again! see comments :) Bowne & Co. Stationers in the South Street Seaport area of Lower Manhattan
(postcard © John Derian Company, Inc)

As I appear to be a confirmed (and grumpy!) Luddite when it comes to the ubiquity of digital communications I’m very happy to have some of my work included in the screen printing and papercutting sections of this nifty new book by Charlotte Rivers (published earlier this month):

‘A wolf and a bear in a winter wood’ – screen printed cards

papercut ‘snowflake’ cards

And I’m delighted to find myself sharing its pages with a super-talented friend…

Jesse Breytenbach, Cape Town, South Africa (letterpress & block printing)

… and a whole host of other great, old-school stationery practitioners. The book is divided into eight sections: hand-drawn illustration, screen printing, letterpress printing, block printing, digital illustration, calligraphy, papercutting and collage/3-D/sewn, and includes brief but informative descriptions of each technique followed by inspirational examples from around the globe. Here are some of my favourite discoveries from the book:

MrYen, Leeds, UK (papercutting)

Sesame Letterpress, New York, USA (letterpress printing)

Winged Wheel, Tokyo, Japan (letterpress printing)

Karolin Schnoor, London, UK (hand-drawn illustration)

Katharine Watson, Washington DC, USA (block printing)

If you’re looking for some inspirational stationery eye-candy the book can be found online here (Amazon UK) or here (Amazon US) >

My annual, end-of-another-year, festive greeting card production-line has been in full swing. I’m officially addicted to cutting paper snowflakes!

This year I thought I’d include a ‘how to’ (of sorts) because they were fun & simple to make and you might like to make some for your friends and family too (everyone likes receiving a handmade card, right?). I’ve also made a few more than I’ll use this year and they’re available now in my etsy shop. Edit: no longer available!

Spoiler alert:If we’re “friends & family” and you don’t want anything to do with these cards until one lands in your letterbox, then scroll no further :-)


Papercut snowflake cards ‘how to’:

What you’ll need:

  • blank cards
  • mulberry tissue paper (or something similarly lightweight, translucent, and interestingly fibrous – the fibres running through the paper look beautiful when backlit)
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • scalpel / blade (this one works a treat)
  • ruler
  • bone folder
  • scissors
  • double-sided tape

(1) Start with a blank card (a square format works well with the circular snowflakes).

(2) Make a stencil on stiff-ish card for the ‘petal’/’wreath’/’rosette’ motif that will be cut out of the front of the card (I’m not sure what to call it… let’s go with ‘petal’).
[Useful tip, courtesy of trial and error: Make sure the inner and outer diameters of this motif and its placement on the card are not such that your petals, when folded out, extend beyond any of the edges of the card – if they do it’ll be impossible to get the cards into the matching envelopes you bought!].

(3) Place the stencil in the desired position on the front of the card (it’s useful to hold it in place at this stage with removable tape) and (4) lightly trace your motif with a soft pencil.

(5) Using the pencil lines as a guide cut your motif out of the card with a scalpel. Use an eraser to gently remove any pencil marks that may be left on the card after cutting out the motif.

(6) Score the base of each petal with the bone folder (if you don’t have a bone folder any bluntly pointed tool would do here – like the tip of a butter knife, or knitting needle tip if not too pointy!).

(7) Cut circles from your lightweight (mulberry) paper, ensuring the diameter of the circle is slightly larger than the diameter of the motif you’ve cut out of the front of the card. (This is a very handy tool for cutting paper circles).

(8) Fold the circles into eighths (fold in half, in half again, and in half a third time), and cut some paper snowflakes. I deliberately tried to include a few heart shapes in each snowflake (‘spreading the love’ and all that) but you can cut any shapes that take your fancy.

(9) As already mentioned it’s addicitive, so you’ll have no trouble cutting lots…

(10) … and lots.

(11) Stick small pieces of double-sided tape on to the outer ‘scalloped’ edges of a paper snowflake. Remove the tape’s backing.

(12) Place the snowflake in the centre of the card motif and press down to secure.

(13) Gently fold out the petals of your card motif. The scored lines made earlier (in step 6) make this a breeze.

(14) And you’re done!

(15) The paper snowflake looks purdy on the inside of the card too.

(16) Make some more…

Happy card making!

scalpel / blade (this one works a treat)
some of my work, available on etsy
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copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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Darkroom shenanigans! (My ‘darkroom’ is simply an area in my studio that can be enclosed by light-proof curtains when needed. Grayson had not yet discovered this fluid ‘space within a space’ and was mightily intrigued when I recently used it while exposing some screens for a new print) - #darkroom #lightproof #blackoutcurtains #black #grey #cat #greeneyes #grayson #explorer #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #catsofinstagram #screenprinting #zeefdruk #lowkey #lowkey_photography -
This was a relatively good inking session, but the intense & unprecedented heatwave we’ve been experiencing in NL has had some ‘interesting’ effects on my drawing ink – turning it (and me!) into a rapidly congealing, sticky mess. The second pic illustrates a particularly bad inking session when, on lifting the freshly dipped pen to continue drawing, the entire inkpot came with it and crash-landed across the drawing. Ugh… a sticky mess indeed! This is, of course, a very trivial effect of the #climatebreakdown we now find ourselves in the midst of, but no less vexing for its insignificance in the great scheme of things… #no_use_crying_over_spilt_ink - #drawing #inking #indianink #encredechine #dippen #spillage #blunder #stickymess #sunlight #shadow #organic #pattern #mycelium #tangled #chaos #climatecollapse - Thankfully today is a cooler, rainy day… perfect inking conditions! -
A jaw-dropping summer sunset in Haarlemtown this evening… - #sunset #summer #evening #sun #light #golden_orb #dusk #clouds #roofgardenviews #haarlem #dutch_sky #painterly #colour #awe_inspiring #nature -
A parade of pampered pups at London’s National Gallery (@national_gallery) - Details from the following paintings: - Gerard David, ‘Christ Nailed to the Cross’, c.1481 - Thomas Gainsborough, ‘The Morning Walk’, 1785 - Gerard David, ‘The Virgin and Child with Saints and Donor’, c.1510 - Luca Giordano, ‘Homage to Velazquez’, 1692-1700 - Francois-Hubery Drouais, ‘Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame’, 1763-4 - #dogs #canidae #canis_lupus_familiaris #pomeraniansheepdog #lapdog #hairlessdog #skull #mementomori #art #arthistory #painting #oiloncanvas #oilonoak #colour #pattern #gallery #museum #nationalgallery #trafalgarsquare #london -

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