Lydia Kasumi Shirreff for Cubitts × G . F Smith
Lydia Kasumi Shirreff is a London-based paper artist, whose enviable client list includes the likes of Vogue, The Serpentine Gallery, and Cereal Magazine. We first worked together back in 2017, and have reunited for our collaboration with the iconic British paper company G . F Smith.
Here, we talk to Lydia about creating the undulating sets for our collaboration, how she got into her craft, and how you can too.
You first worked with Cubitts back in 2017. Could you tell us a little bit about that project?
I loved that project! It was for a launch of four new frame designs and I made a different set/sculpture for each and then they all combined to make one mega-sculpture. I also designed and produced pieces to hang in the windows of the Soho and Spitalfields stores. We used a very beautiful palette of neutral greys and tonal pinks and oranges.
How long have you been working with paper?
I’ve been a paper artist for just about ten years now - a long time! I never really planned to work in paper exclusively, my background is in Fine Art and I specialised in sculpture. My messing around with paper coincided with my moving to London where I got picked up by an agency. It all felt very natural and coincidental.
What is your favourite thing about it as a medium?
I just love the tactile quality of an object made from paper - it’s such a familiar material but when you see it behave in a different way it can tell a whole new story. Your brain knows how it feels to touch and be manipulated but when you see it in a new light it becomes really special.
What was the inspiration behind the set that you created for our collaboration with G . F Smith?
I wanted to show a kind of visual play between two materials, the G . F Smith paper and the acetate of the frames. In the end I created a shape that was interesting to me as an object but also quite simple by using paper to mimic the malleability of the acetate and its soft curves.
What is it about G . F Smith paper that makes it so popular to work with?
I use G . F Smith and Colorplan papers all the time. The paper is exceptional, and it really helps that they do next day delivery for tight deadlines. I’ve always been impressed by the quality and colours available, especially now they’ve started adding new colours to the range.
For anyone stuck in lockdown and inspired by your artistry, what essential tools might they need to start experimenting with paper craft?
You don’t need much. A scalpel with a few sharp blades, a cutting mat, glue (I prefer solvent based because it dries quickly), some paper, and some patience. Lots of patience!