Pope & Lawn is the collaborative venture of papercut artists Chris Pope and Helen Lawn. Highly creative and each with a successful professional career in communications, they have long shared a fascination with the visual impact of papercut art and its ability to engage and ultimately communicate with people of all ages. This led to the beginning of an artistic journey exploring what other forms of expression are possible within this art form, and in doing so, creating a growing and unique body of work. Their original papercuts and related pieces build on the traditional practice of paper cutting by hand while introducing a contemporary twist through the addition of colour and the use of mixed media.
Our inspiration comes from a myriad of sources – from the beauty of the natural world, reflections on the world humankind has created/is creating for itself, through to the bigger questions that go beyond the world we can see. Some of our pieces will simply invite you to stop, take notice and reflect. Others will inspire, affirm and even amuse while there will be those that challenge, confront and provoke.
Irrespective of inspiration, each of our original papercuts, which range in size from A5 through to A1, begins with an individual design based on a creative spark which is then worked out in a hand drawn concept or a photograph. This stage involves incorporating any text, or where required, any original verse as found in many of our earlier pieces. After the design has been rigorously reviewed to ensure it will actually work as physical papercut (i.e. there are no disconnected elements), it is then cut entirely and painstakingly by hand from a single piece of archive quality paper using only a scalpel. We then subject our initial cut to a meticulous examination where we address even the smallest imperfection before applying its appropriate colour/coating. Where a background is an integral element of the design, this is then created using the appropriate media and techniques. Only then is the delicate, intricately finished papercut mounted on its background before being signed and framed in its solid wood, custom-made box frame.
Words like original and unique are often used to describe works of art but here’s just a few reasons why we confidently say each of our papercut artworks are genuinely original and unique:
- Getting the initial hand drawn sketch/photograph for the design can take hours of experimenting with the right angle/light/content.
- The actual design can take anything up to 20 hours or more, especially when dealing with complex images where the question is less “what do we include” and more “what do we leave out”?
- The actual cutting involves hundreds if not thousands of individual cuts, some of which may be as small as a single millimetre. This literally can take days with each cut needing to be executed with precision to achieve the quality we demand from ourselves, all the time knowing that a single mistake in the wrong place can mean having to start all over again.
- Paper can be both remarkably resilient yet incredibly fragile. A complex papercut can blunt a surgical quality scalpel blade in 15 minutes (we can easily go through 20 blades per original) yet crease and tear without warning at the slightest mishandling.
Consequently on the rare occasions we have cut two versions of the same design, each will be subtly different and therefore unique.
Our work has already been on display in a number of exhibitions and venues.
2014 Inaugural ‘Slice Of Life’ exhibition, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.
Selected works on display at Fuggles Beer Cafe, Tunbridge Wells.
2015 Selected works on display at Fuggles Beer Cafe, Tunbridge Wells.
‘Coffee And A Slice’ exhibition, Perk & Pearl (smallest gallery in Kent), Tunbridge Wells.
SEEART Fair, the largest international art fair in the South of England.
2016 Selected works on display at Fuggles Beer Cafe, Tunbridge Wells
Invited artists at Tunbridge Wells International Art Fair
Invited to join Pure Arts Group
Invited to join Chalk Gallery, Lewes
Exhibited at Pure Autumn Art Fair
Exhibiting at Pantiles Art Pop-Up
Our gallery space
While our website gives you a real sense of the intricacy and craftsmanship that goes into each of our pieces, we recognise there’s no substitute for seeing our work in real life. While our Pope & Lawn gallery space, the only one of its kind in the UK dedicated to the art of hand cut, papercut art, had to sadly close its doors, you can find out more about where to see our work in the flesh HERE.
Like what you see but don’t live in or near Tunbridge Wells then our online shop is for you. Covering the full range of our creations to date, including regularly changing special offers and/or bundles, you can purchase anything you like from the comfort of your own digital device. Why not have a browse HERE?
If there’s a particular work you’d like to spend some time with and get ‘up close and personal’, we can arrange a viewing by appointment. We have already undertaken a number of commissions and would be happy to discuss any ideas or requests you might have in this area. Please get in touch via our Contact Us page.