Creatively Speaking – Interview with Jennifer Collier

14 Sep

Well it is Friday again… hooray and time for another interview with one of the wonderful artists, creatives and designers that I have featured over the last few months who have agreed for me to invade their lives for a bit with a few questions… A virtual coffee or cuppa.  So less of me……

A couple of weeks ago you may recall a blog post on paper artist Jennifer Collier and and her beautiful work.  Well Jennifer has kindly taken so time to stop by and tell us a little bit more about herself and her work…. I hope that you enjoy.

How would you describe your work and style?

My practice focuses on creating work from paper; by bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching. I produce unusual paper ‘fabrics’, which are used to explore the ‘remaking’ of household objects. The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and the media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms, for example a sewing machine made from dress making patterns, or a camera out of vintage photographs.  I tend to find papers, by scouring charity shops and flea markets, then investigate a way in which they can be reused and transformed; giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away.

What, where and/or who inspires you?

The materials themselves that I use to make my work are my biggest inspiration. I find a media and try to think how I can use it in my work and transform its function. Also I gain inspiration from the places I search for materials, such as flea markets, charity shops, fruit and veg stalls, antique shops etc. Whenever I am really stuck for an idea I seek inspiration from literature or poetry.

When and how did you first begin to create paper sculptures, did you experiment with other mediums before hand ?

I originally trained in textiles completing a BA (hons) Textiles, at Manchester Metropolitan University, in 1999. This was a traditional textiles course specialising in Print, Knit and Weave. Toward the end of the course I started experimenting with different materials, weaving with orange peel, melting fruit bags; all manner of things my tutors did not approve of. I honestly believe the best way to learn is by not being afraid to make mistakes, this way you allow yourself to have happy accidents. All of the techniques I use in my work now are things I have taught myself since graduating by experimenting with different media and techniques. Probably more than half of my work never sees the light of day, but through the other half I have discovered something truly unique. It got to the stage where books and papers were my main inspiration, so it just made sense to continue with these.

Which is your favorite personal project and why?

Whatever is the newest is always a favorite- I recently made a paper Hoover for a touring exhibition (, complete with wallpaper zip up hoover bag. I also love the paper typewriter as that proved my biggest paper engineering challenge to date.

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

Making the cover artwork for Orange Prize for Fiction winning and Booker Prize shortlisted author Linda Grant’s ‘The Thoughtful Dresser’


Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

I wouldn’t dare jinx them by saying them out loud yet- sorry!!

If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?

American Craft Museum, in New York (now the MAD museum)

What would be your dream commission?

Making a room set where every details is made out of paper- from the handmade wallpaper to the paper tea set, and a paper table cloth, with embroidered paper napkins etc….

If I were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places for me to visit (this could be a place, restaurant, cafe, etc).

The charity shops- They are brilliant here!

Describe your perfect Day.

Being allowed to just sit and sewing my studio all day……………Unfortunately the boring bits of running a business always get in the way.

Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favorite dish to cook?

Afraid my husband does all the cooking, otherwise we would both starve!!

Upcoming Exhibitions



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5 responses to “Creatively Speaking – Interview with Jennifer Collier

  1. This Sydney Life

    September 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

    BCD – I am somewhat mollified that a woman as talented as Jennifer doesn’t cook. I know it’s small of me, but it makes me feel better! 🙂

    • birdcagedesign

      September 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Ah but I think she has it right… getting hubby to do the cooking! 🙂

  2. Hidden Passions

    September 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Paper engineering.. heard about it for the first time here. Kudos to her work,

  3. leblogdemarie

    September 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Beautiful work and so incredibly creative! Bravo to Jennifer!


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