Helen Flynn began creating papercuts whilst studying for a Masters degree in Architecture at Manchester University. An aspect of the course she particularly enjoyed was making models and small maquettes. Helen became proficient at cutting intricate and challenging patterns; and after attending a papercutting workshop she was inspired to create artworks using these skills. Helen has been creating personalised papercuts for the last seven years as unique and bespoke gifts alongside her work as an architect.
The work combines symbols, images and words that have personal meaning to the people who receive them.Helen begins by sketching a design, bringing together different images to create a coherent pattern. She then cuts the paper by hand using a variety of blades. Helen usually works from her craft room, but the portable nature of the work and tools means that she can work from more or less anywhere – she once took her work on holiday to Vienna!
This most recent body of work is inspired by traditional embroidery samplers.Helen has seen a number of these on the walls of family members while growing up in South Wales and also made some simple cross-stitch samplers as a child. For Helen, the samplers are a symbol of home and family and full of personal details. The number of hours and care that it takes to create one of these pieces is symbolic of the time, care and love that goes into creating a home. They are very personal, and so suit the exhibition theme very well. These traditional pieces have been reinterpreted in paper. The recent series is a natural progression from her previous work, which is also rooted in the handicraft tradition.
While studying the traditional samplers, Helen noticed that many contain a few words - a verse from the bible or a phrase or "lesson". Helen's aunt, Ann Rosser often writes poems in Welsh for family celebrations. Helen asked her Aunt to write a few words inspired why the word "Aelwyd" so that she could work it into the design. Helen also used other lines of poetry which conjure images of home and family into her pieces.