Gift Guide: Grace and Faith Papercuts

Sarah Challenger is a new and emerging artist who divides her time between looking after her young daughters and creating beautiful papercuts. She chatted to Sandra Mangan about her work – which is now on sale at Shop Boutique in St John’s Square.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you make.

I  had a love of art and crafts from an early age and, having given up work to care for my two young daughters, I decided to pursue my dream. I started to develop an interest in paper cutting after receiving a piece as a gift and I decided to take up the craft and started developing and perfecting my skills. Earlier this year I took the plunge and opened my own business which is growing from strength to strength.grace and faith 3

I design and make papercut art and keepsakes. To produce my papercuts I have to start with a design. I create my designs using a combination of hand drawn images and graphics programmes on the computer. I use two simple materials to create the finished result – various papers and a craft blade. Each piece is cut by hand from a single sheet of paper and remains interconnected by the lines of the design. I also back and frame all of my own work so each piece is ready to hang.

I have no formal training or education in art. I am self-taught in the design and production of each  piece. With each new design and cut I am constantly learning and developing as an artist.

What inspires you?

I take my inspiration for my designs from nature and floral themes. As a lot of my work is commission based,  I try to tie in my love of free flowing floral imagery and my customers’ personal requests to create unique pieces and keepsakes. I also try to follow emerging fashion themes and trends.

Describe a favourite piece you have created.

One of my popular pieces is my Skull papercut. When trying to think of a generic piece which could be bought off the shelf, I saw  the trend in fashion and popular culture for skulls, especially Dia Di Muertos (Day of the Dead) themes. I decided I wanted to incorporate this trend in my papercuts and set about designing. With the skull representing death, I also wanted to tie in floral imagery to represent life.

The finished product was a resounding success and is one of my most popular designs to date. The cut is adaptable and appears different and striking when cut in different colours. I have also created a twist on my skull design by placing glitter highlights behind parts of the cut. Due to the popularity of this design, I have diversified and used it on other products such as pocket mirrors.

What is different about your work?grace and faith 2

With papercutting becoming more popular and more accessible, I try to remain true to my work and the themes I love. I design each papercut myself and tend to tie in the theme of flora and fauna in all of my work. By doing this I hope that my work is recognisable and stands apart from a lot of the generic cuts you see.

What are your best sellers this Christmas?

Best sellers for Christmas 2013 are commissioned family cuts featuring bird and butterfly. I have used this design for well over twenty commissions in all different colours and sizes. With each one I try to tie in something additional, personalised for the family, whether that be a dog silhouette, special date or special flower.

Where can our readers find your work?

My work is stocked at the following shops:
* Shop Boutique: St Johns Square, Blackpool
* Emerge Shop: Brazennose Street, Manchester
* Traders Outlet: Altrincham

You can also order online via my website.
Facebook: GraceAndFaithPapercuts
Twitter: graceandfaith1
Email: [email protected]

What are your plans for 2014?

I hope that in the future my work will extend to more retail opportunities and also diversify into other household and fashion goods such as tote bags, cards and clothing. I am also looking at starting workshops for the public and in schools for others to share and enjoy the work that I do.


Images from Grace and Faith’s Facebook page.

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