As you can probably guess from the image, Paper Panda is a world of paper cutting heaven. This is a medium which I have dabbled in only very gently and quickly backed away from when I realised early on that I not only have faulty paws, but I most definitely lack the steady hand, and staggering skill it would require to excel the way that Louise Firchau, the lady behind the panda, does.
As well as unique paper cuts, the Paper Panda designs can be found on mugs, sterling silver necklaces, cushions and so much more. It's inspiring!
1. As the most famous panda I can think of - but with an obvious love for a certain white rabbit, for kitties and hounds, I'm wondering what made you choose a panda to be born into this passionate creative land as?
It was a total fluke. I didn't put a great deal of thought into the name to be honest as when I started it was only a little hobby and I knew it had to be 'Paper' and needed a 'something' to go with it that flowed and sounded, well, right! Afterwards I figured it went well because of the Chinese roots of papercutting, that they are black and white (as all my work was at the time) and...that's it! After the amount of panda pictures I get tagged in I kinda wish now it had been cat related, but shhh, don't tell anyone ;)
2. What other crafts if any do you spend time on when you're not cutting paper or do you prefer to do distinctly non-creative stuff in your down time?
Down time? What is this 'down time' you speak of? I'm lucky if I get some sleep haha! No time at all for anything else in my life.
3. When you were properly little, what was your dream job? Be honest! (I wanted to be a secretary and insisted on carrying a clipboard everywhere!)
The classic one, a vet. I think everyone wants to be a vet at some point.
4. At what point did that dream job turn into being a Paper Panda? Was there a distinct trigger?
All a fluke. None of PP was planned at all in any way, it just happened organically. I work like a mad'un so when I start something that's it, everything I have goes into it. I guess I started, preferred it to freelance graphic design, made more and more papercuts, put lots of time into the page and then gave up designing when there wasn't any more time to do it. I also owned a gift shop and I had to close that, too. Just not enough hours in the day.
5. Which modern social media form do you find best to communicate with your Panda disciples?
Well it has to be Facebook, doesn't it? Although we're also on Twitter, Instagram, Deviant Art and Pinterest as well I've yet to feel as comfortable using them.
6. What are your favourite style of paper cuts to work on and why? Big? Teeny? Gothic? Alice??
Oooh good question. All of them. It doesn't matter what I cut as long as I'm cutting. I hate repeating myself, though so do try to keep recuts to a minimum. I love cutting a brand new, big design and doing the slow reveal.
7. If you had to pick just one of your creations to represent you which would it be and why?
It'd be 'Tea Party' or 'We're All Mad Here'. Tea Party has been the most sucessful design to date, selling consistantly both as an original cut and on merchandise and I still love it, and all things Alice. I can say I love it without being big headed as it's a collaboration between me and Mr Panda and I see it as his, really - he sees it as mine!
'We're all mad here' is a small typographical piece and it was designed aaaaaaaages ago and is nothing at all like my current work but is still as popular as ever. It's the oldest design that I still regularly cut.
8. Who are your favourite modern artists and what is it about their work that draws you to them?
Chatty Nora draws the most remarkable typographical posters by hand. The cottage is full of them. They are quirky and really clever and I still haven't figured out how she makes them. I love things that are unusual, oddities so pounce on anything out of the ordinary like the work of The Cat In The Shoe and Flossie Limejuice.
9. Where can interested parties find your delicious creations if they can't resist and want to buy their very own Paper Panda piece?
I exhibit in Obsidian Art Gallery where some of my more impressive, large pieces go on show. I have an online shop www.paperpanda.bigcartel.com where you can buy merchandise and, (if you are quick enough!) some original papercuts and also on eBay under the ID theoriginalpaperpanda where I start auctions at 99p for a bit of excitement :)