paper tales

from Cinderella

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you come across a book that makes you catch your breath. I had that experience last weekend when I was browsing through the children's books at the Auckland Art Gallery shop and found a collection of paper-craft fairytales by English artist Su Blackwell.

The Fairytale Princess published by Thames & Hudson (2012) contains excellent retellings of seven classic stories by Wendy Jones, including my faves, The Princess & the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but the star of the production is Su Blackwell's three-dimensional paper scenes. 

 from Sleeping Beauty

For some years now Blackwell has used vintage books to construct elaborate paper scenes using a variety of paper-craft techniques such as papier mache and collage. I suppose it was only a matter of time before she put together a picture book, and what a book it is! 

 From The Twelve Dancing Princesses

From The Princess & the Pea

The paper scenes are photographed against atmospheric colour fields and the light and shadow play really enhances the magical nature of the tales. The illustrations combine details of scenes on single pages and double-page spreads of larger scenes.

  From The Twelve Dancing Princesses

 From Snow White

 From Sleeping Beauty

Su Blackwell's book is a triumph of paper-craft skill and a gorgeous piece of book production. I would happily recommend it to any fairytale lover or paper-craft enthusiast in your life.

From The Twelve Dancing Princesses


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