Hattie Newman on building paper worlds by hand

The paper artist’s dedication to her work – often spending weeks on a single project – has led to commissions by everyone from Google to the Guardian. She discusses why both creatives and their clients shouldn’t compromise on craft

“If you took away craft I’m wondering what I would be left with,” Hattie Newman says about her line of work. The artist makes a valid point; take one look at her charming 3D paper creations and it’s clear that they have been painstakingly pieced together. Based in London, Newman has been in the paper game for over a decade now and has built up an impressive client list in that time, including the Guardian, Wagamama and Google.

Paper has always been a source of fascination for the artist, who remembers drawing imaginary maps and designing and building cardboard cities for her hamster Wiggles when she was younger. When she left the University of West England as a fresh faced illustration grad in 2008, however, being a paper artist wasn’t even a career that was on her radar.

Banner image: Newman was commissioned to recreate London’s Olympic City in paper. Above: An editorial for Condé Nast Traveller

“There was Chrissie Macdonald who had done an Orange ad campaign. I remember seeing that just as I graduated and thinking ‘What’s that? I want to do that’. But apart from that I didn’t know that a paper artist was a thing, and the people that I looked up to were all set designers like Gary Card and Shona Heath,” says Newman.

The artist worked for a number of set designers in London after graduating while she was trying to find her feet, mainly helping to source props and build sets. Her first solo commission fittingly came from paper company Fedrigoni, who asked her to create a paper mountain installation in its Hatton Garden showroom.