Happy Monday! Happy first day of summer. And a happy belated Father’s day to today’s maker, and all the other Dads out there. Gosh, what a lot of stuff to celebrate. And, I am also so thrilled to introduce today’s Maritime Maker, Adrian of Paradise Papercraft.
This feature is particularly exciting for me because as I sit here typing this, one of Adrian’s larger pieces is looking down at me from the wall above. Another of his works graces my cozy reading corner. So, needless to say, it was great fun learning more about an artist whose work I enjoy so greatly.
Can you please begin with a brief bio about yourself and an intro to your shop.
Hi, I’m Adrian de Montfort, I’m an English expat, now dual Canadian citizen living in Paradise, Nova Scotia. I live in a secluded farmhouse with a husband and kids, chickens, cats and a dog and I cut pieces of card into sarcastic, scientific and yarnarific (that a word?) greetings cards for people who like to send something different.
Your journey started with a book, Tale of the One Way Street, a storybook of modern European folktales, illustrated by Papercut Artist Jan Pienkowski. Tell us more about how it piqued your interest at such a young age.
It was an astonishing discovery, I had obviously read illustrated books before, then suddenly there was this idea that you could tell a story just using black paper and scissors! It helped that the stories told in the book were unlike anything I had ever read before, (I have been a voracious reader ever since I learned to read – I read the hobbit at 6 – so story telling has been a dominant part of my life and I was always hungry for folktales). Here was this book telling stories in new way and illustrated with astonishing lacy paper cuts that were gritty and detailed and fantastical. I started copying them, then designing my own, childish interests wax and wane and I fell out of the habit. I came back to the art later in life and discovered that there were better cutters out there struggling to make a living from their art, so my work morphed into my current business.
Clicking through your shop, I think it is safe to say that you are pretty committed to London and to knitting. 🙂 Tell us about your love for both of these?
I have a love hate relationship with London, I lived there for a few years in my early twenties, had a beautiful love affair that ended badly, so some bad memories there, but felt at times the most alive I have ever felt when I was and am in that beautiful city, I love its architecture, its culture and its amazing mix of cultures. You can feel like a true citizen of the planet in that one city alone. Primarily I love London because I’m a pretty political person and have a great affection for the Palace of Westminster, it is, after all, the foundation of western democracy, the “Mother of Parliaments” and while the political scene is perceived as seedy and corrupt, I have a strong faith that there will be a resurgence of honest people willing to serve.
Knitting is my true passion, I learned the craft from my mother, but lost interest in my teens (I discovered boys and got distracted) and it wasn’t until I had a climbing accident in my late teens and badly injured my left hand, that I picked it up again. My physical therapist got me into knitting to keep my ligaments flexible, I haven’t stopped since. There is something about knitting unlike any other craft, that fulfills the creative impulse in me. I literally get itchy fingers if I am not knitting in the evenings and I love stranded knitting, particular the 1940’s take on Fair Isle, and I share my mother’s passion for cabled Aran knitting – there is always a wip on the sofa next me, currently a chicken doorstop using Icelandic traditional styles.
Do you have a favorite hand-made treasure? (Something you made, a gift, a family heirloom?)
I have a crocheted throw that I made on my one and only venture into crocheting – go big or go home right. It sits here on the arm of a sofa thick and heavy and is a great reminder to me to persist and work through boredom with a project, and boy did I get soooo bored crocheting that throw, enough to never pick up the hooks again. But it’s cosy and great to snuggle under with my kids when it’s cold and miserable outside. I hope it’s something that one day, they will have fond memories of daddies throw.
Can we find your work anywhere off etsy?
You can, I have my own stand alone site, www.paradisepapercraft.ca, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and usually at the Annapolis Farmers market, though I have taken this year off to work on new product development and finish off the renovations to our home.
So happy to see you will back at EMIC this year. Is there anything new that EMIC regulars might see this year?
I actually have a couple of new lines, I recently got into the sticker making which has been a amazing adventure and something I take a great deal of joy doing, and I hope to have a new line of laser cut and engraved work up and ready for EMIC – all depends on time and my learning curve, but I have the designs all finished and ready to create.
And, finally, is there another Maritime Maker who you would like to give a shout-out to today?
That would have to be my friend Fiona Kelly of Tangled Blossoms designs. Ours sons are in the same grade and are besties and I love her work, her eye for colour and her obvious joy in her work.
Thanks again for sharing your story with us today, Adrian. We look forward to seeing you at the Etsy Made in Canada event this year.
To view more of Adrian’s work visit his etsy shop, ParadisePapercraft. You can also click any of the photos shown to go directly to that item.