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Friday, 19 April 2019 02:26 pm

Design graduates’ work on show not your typical exhibition



Things got a bit sticky for Kate Maree Thomas creating her intricate papercut work for the Collidescope exhibition by WelTec’s Creative Technologies graduates.

The sticky bit was the durable builders’ paper she used for her work, Improbable Cities, on show at the National Portrait Gallery’s Shed 11.

Thomas (22) worked mainly from home, using a scalpel-like x-acto knife to cut through black bituminous paper to create the three 30cm x 30cm papercuts.

Each piece took 20 – 40 hours to make and while the paper’s strength and texture make it ideal for papercut art, Thomas says the downside is its habit of clinging to things.

“One of the bad qualities about the paper is if it’s in contact with skin it warms up and becomes slightly sticky.

“It’s not bad but it just makes it very difficult to get rid of, especially when you have lots of tiny bits floating around your entire bedroom, and flat, and accommodation building in general.

“I’ve had it appear in teacups, when I’m drinking.”

Thomas, who hails from the Taranaki town of Eltham, was introduced to papercutting last year while studying for her Creative Technologies diploma at New Plymouth’s Western Institute of Technology.

She moved to Wellington to complete the degree and created Improbable Cities in response to Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities which was recommended by her supervisor, Adi Brown.

“It’s Marco Polo essentially describing Venice to Genghis Khan but he’s just elaborating and making these impossible descriptions of all these different, little, strange things.

“So I focused on a story from that book [‘Thin Cities 2’] when I did the theme for my papercuttings,” said Thomas, who was also inspired by the black and white silhouette works of French papercutter Béatrice Coron.

But papercutting is just one of Thomas’ skills, as the Creative Technology course is multi-disciplined.

Thomas, whose works often draw on popular culture and the Art Nouveau movement, wants to work in the graphic design industry and is now applying for jobs.

“I see myself as being more of a graphic designer than an artist.

“But I like to think I can do both.”

She said her favourite childhood computer programmes were Fine Artist and Barbie Fashion Designer, and she has always been interested in art.

“I’ve always been one to tape all the bits of paper together with all the sellotape in the house, since I was a little kid.”

Thomas said the degree course had been fun and she learnt a lot from it, and it was amazing to see her work on the wall of the Collidescope exhibition.

Curator Adi Brown said the inter-disciplinary nature of the Creative Technologies course means Collidescope is not a traditional art exhibition, and the students did a lot of the organising themselves, from branding and design to webpage creation and financial management.

Featured works include animation, film, virtual reality, photography, motion graphics and an architectural model.

The Collidescope exhibition runs until October 30 and entry is free.


Guests view the opening of the exhibition by Weltec creative technologies students.

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