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© Innes Hywel Evans
© Innes Hywel Evans
© Innes Hywel Evans
© Innes Hywel Evans
© Innes Hywel Evans

Rachel Shaw Ashton

Rachel Shaw Ashton Paper cutter
© Innes Hywel Evans

Conveying emotions with a scalpel

  • • Rachel's work evokes emotion, memory and nature
  • • Patience, concentration, tenacity and belief are essential
  • • The titles of her works are reading clues

A trained illustrator and fine artist, Rachel Shaw Ashton discovered the delicate craft of paper cutting through experimentation. “I have always experimented with different mediums and when I first tried paper cutting it was incorporated as part of the large drawings I was making. Eventually, I became more interested in the images created with the paper itself and stopped using pencil drawings alongside.” Liking the idea that each tiny individual paper cutting will be slightly different even though it may look identical to hundreds of others, she hand cuts all the elements with a scalpel rather than using a laser. For Rachel, the purpose of paper cutting is to create beautiful yet thoughtful pieces that have meaning.

Read the full interview

Works

  • © Innes Hywel Evans
  • © Innes Hywel Evans
  • © Innes Hywel Evans
  • © Innes Hywel Evans
  • © Innes Hywel Evans
Photo: © Innes Hywel Evans
English Meadow Grasses

This wall piece is a three-dimensional paper cutting artwork which represents various meadow grasses and plants indigenous to the English meadow. Each plant stem is studied and sketched by Rachel Shaw Ashton and then drawn onto white watercolour paper. She then cuts out the design with a scalpel. The paper cut grasses are then set on pins to elevate them and create shadows on a spray-painted pebble-grey background.

Length 22 cm
Height 30 cm

Photo: © Innes Hywel Evans
The Gift

This is a three-dimensional paper cutting artwork designed to be hung on a wall. The background is a pencil drawing of a young girl opening up a gift, which appears to be a chest containing hundreds of golden paper doves which fly in all directions. The doves are elevated on pins to create shadows. The girl is wearing a tall conical hat, and has a long hair braid and a gentle smile. The box’s ribbon lies beside her.

Length 20 cm
Height 50 cm

Photo: © Innes Hywel Evans
Act of Union

This three-dimensional paper cutting wall piece depicts a standing figure bracing themselves against an oncoming tempestuous force. The figure is leaning forward with both feet firmly on the ground and both arms extended behind him. It is made of hundreds of tiny black oak leaves cut out of paper with a scalpel and elevated with pins on a foamboard to create shadows.

Length 67 cm
Height 87 cm

Photo: © Innes Hywel Evans
All the Other Ghosts

This three-dimensional paper cutting artwork depicts the profile of a screaming head. The head is made up of tiny reclining, passive figures which have been cut out of paper and elevated with pins on a foamboard, creating shadows. The figures all face the same direction, like little arrows. The overall colour of this piece is a sheer grey.

Length 80 cm
Height 80 cm

Photo: © Innes Hywel Evans
Letters to My Mother

This three-dimensional paper cutting artwork is designed to be hung on a wall. The image depicts a woman seemingly being pulled or pushed across space by an unknown force. She is made up of hundreds of tiny handwritten letters cut from watercolour paper and elevated with pins, creating shadows. The artwork is white on a white foamboard background.

Length 67 cm
Height 87 cm

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