Artists create works from a single piece of paper – including sculptures, jewellery and even a working clock

A blank page is often the starting point for creativity, but in this project, a blank page was also the end product.


Eight artists from a variety of disciplines have been commissioned by James Cropper Paper to contribute to a project called Redefining Paper. The aim was to rethink the way we view the humble piece of paper by developing artwork using a limited supply of paper. In an effort to allow maximum freedom of expression while staying true to the driving concept behind the project, the extent of the brief was the question 'What is the potential of a white piece of paper?' and the only restrictions were that the artists were prohibited from using dyes to colour the paper and from turning the paper into pulp.

The hugely varied offerings are both a fascinating reflection of how differently creative minds can interpret a simple brief, and a celebration of paper as an oft-disregarded medium in itself. From the ultra-simplicity of a customisable wall clock by Rosanna and Clint to the complex beauty of Megan Ocheduszko's range of jewellery made from lengths of spun paper, and from the structured, sharp lines of a lamp shade from Laura Nelson to the rippling curves of Dan Hoolahan's vase, this project is diverse, beautiful and stimulating.

If you're feeling jaded or adrift as an artist, Redefining Paper could be the inspiration you're looking for. Having seen the versatility of a simple sheet of paper, you can't fail to begin seeing potential everywhere.

Image: Kairos by Rosanna and Clint, Designers

Rosanna says: “Our initial interpretation of the brief was the importance for the paper’s original characteristics to remain in the finished piece, aiming to do only what was necessary to transform the single sheet of paper. After some exploration and experimentation we liked the idea of creating a timepiece. The opportunity to create an object with such functional purpose is something that excites us in the studio.”

Burneside Shade by Laura Nelson, Product Designer

Laura says: “The Burneside Shade exploits the durability and structural properties of the paper through three-dimensional design.  I have chosen a lampshade, as it demonstrates structural properties of the paper and manipulates light in different ways through simple cutting and folding techniques. Two lampshades can be produced from one sheet of 640mm x 900mm paper.”


Helix by James Donegan, Architect

James says: “The process of making paper involves taking a highly structured, organic material and reducing it to a two dimensional blank space upon which one can easily express one’s ideas. The project realises this complexity and attempts to return the structural properties of the material from which it was derived. Through the uses of parametric design and digital manufacturing techniques the structure has been created without the use of any other material, fixings or adhesives.”

Advertisement. Article continues below

manta - motion - studies (two inversions) by Thomas Mills, Furniture Designer

Thomas says: “This work is the direct result of a strict iterative design process. My aim was to immediately move away from folding, scoring or marking the paper - to try and find other areas of interest. Ultimately, I've done as little as possible to the actual paper. The simple placing of 4 holes in each piece allows the flat sheet to be placed under a specific tension and curvature, creating a controlled, rhythmic display. Thus, the paper can display its qualities and its capacity for 3D expression, unhindered.”


Paper Collection by Megan Ocheduszko, Contemporary Jewellery Designer

Megan says: “My practice mainly focuses on tactility and our sense of touch so my aim was to create something with tactile qualities from the paper. My first goal was to manipulate the paper so that it was durable (as jewellery is something that is handled quite a lot) and held its shape when held.”


Porcelain Vase by Dan Hoolahan, Product Designer

Dan says: “I immediately wanted my piece to reflect the name of the paper range, Porcelain. Porcelain being commonly associated with ceramics such as bowls and vases it felt natural to play on this theme. Using a laser cutter, my sheet of paper was cut into rings of varying sizes. 449 of these rings, including closed pieces for the base, were then glued together in no particular order to create a structure.”

Advertisement. Article continues below

Audire by Daniel Reed, Graphic Designer & Sound Artist

Daniel says: “Audire is an exploration of texture, with the aim to create something unexpected from a single sheet of paper. I took audio samples from the paper and created a unique soundscape, all the sound heard on the track was taken directly from the paper. I manipulated the paper by bending, scratching, tearing, folding, blowing, burning and dropping. The poster is typeset in my own typeface 'IVORY'.”