Friday, 8 November 2013

Interview with Paper Crafter {Laura Barker}

Tell us a bit about yourself and what kind of art you do

My name is Laura and I have a passion for paper craft in all its forms. I particularly like to create personalised cards either to my own original designs or incorporating upcycled vintage papers. I’m based in Sheffield where I’ve lived and worked all my life and love to sell at local markets and fairs as well as work with local shops too.


How long have you been creating art/have you always been a creative person?

I’ve always loved to be creative and liked nothing more when I was younger than a big box of crayons and a stack of paper! (and maybe some glitter glue…) I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing pretty things away either and was always collecting ‘rubbish’ to make things with. I love the idea of making something decorative and personal. I took the step of turning this hobby into a small business in May this year and I’m loving it!

Are you working on anything at the moment?

At the moment I’m working on creating my Christmas items. I’ve got a lot of cards designed and now I’m trying to get to grips with a sewing machine! I’ve made hand sewn decorations for myself and my family for a few years but thought I’d try selling them this year too, so a machine was in order. Unfortunately my mind seems to go blank when I’m around them so it might take a little practise!

Where do you create?  

I create, design, make, market, store and package everything at home. I don’t have a lot of space so usually find myself sat on the floor with everything spread around me. If I get myself organised (so I don’t have to keep running up to the attic to fetch things) I use the kitchen table.

What are the most important lessons you have learned through creating art?

I’ve learnt to keep trying and be flexible. Sometimes an idea I think is great just doesn’t work out in reality. Other times I’ve just stumbled across items to upcycle or an idea has sparked from a little comment someone makes and an item I’ve never thought of gets created.

How do you deal with criticism? 

I was a secondary school teacher for a number of years so I’m accustomed to not taking comments personally! I know not everyone will like my work (or my prices) and if it’s not their thing that’s fine, that’s a great thing about arts and crafts – there’s lot of choice out there. If someone close to me or someone who I think of as a customer doesn’t like something I feel a little defensive at first wanting to explain how much thought and efforts I’d put into a piece, and if you’re particularly close to me I tend to voice this too! However, I then think about it logically and try to work out what the criticism is based on, is it just a matter of taste or am I missing a customer’s needs? This then turns into a new starting point to start creating again.

 Is there any medium, other than your own, that you would love to try? 

I’ve always wanted to be able to paint or draw and really admire people who can do this. My work is more stylised designs and paper pieced together so it doesn’t get the subtleties of hand drawn or painted. Whenever I try to be ‘artistic’ it always ends up like a child’s drawing, but I’d love to learn some proper technique.

 Where do you get your inspiration from?/What inspires you?

Inspirations come from lots of places. For my upcycled work it’s wanting to preserve a memory, an occasion or a piece of history. For my other work I like to make things I like (that’s how I started out, making things for myself) and see if others like them too. Usually I think of a special occasion that someone would want to commemorate and start from there hopefully creating a memento of the special day.

 Do you work in a sketchbook/art journal? 

I have a couple of notebooks or journals that I have especially for sketching down new ideas. Whenever I see something that sparks a thought I jot down my interpretation in there as a starting point. Sometimes this works wonderfully; other times I go back and I’m not sure what I was thinking! It’s always fun to look back through the books and see where designs started or discover little seeds of an idea that I’d forgotten. 

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and/or your art? 

I love to create unique pieces. Going into a small shop or around a market full of interesting, unique pieces which represent the different ideas of artists always fills me with enthusiasm, so hopefully this is what I can do in my work too. I love the idea of being able to create something really personal and working with people to make something just for them. Upcycling lets me create lots of one of a kind pieces as I use original papers that can’t be reproduced.

More information can be found here:


How about that? A fellow Sheffield-dweller! I hope to see you and your gorgeous creations at some local markets this Christmas season :)

I hope you enjoyed this week's interview. If you are interested in being interviewed on the blog email me on I am interested in all types of artists, big and small, old and young, all are welcome.

Take care


  1. Thanks so much Ciara for sharing my work! I'm sure we will bump into each other somewhere around Sheffield at some point!

    1. Thank you for sharing with us Laura. Yes I'd be very surprised if our paths didn't cross at some point!
      Ci x


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