One of our most popular stalls last year was Behanie Yeong’s papercuts. If you bought one of her beautifully intricate works of art or received one for Christmas, here’s a bit about Bethanie and her work:
Bethanie Yeong Papercuts is relatively new. Bethanie started operating as a business in April 2015, but she’s been working with paper since she was young.
“I have always cut things out of paper. I used to make stencils for printmaking and relief work, however my stencils became more and more intricate, they became a piece of artwork on their own. I studied Illustration at University, I have tried a large range of techniques and used a variety of materials. Papercutting was something I was able to do at home without spending a lot on the machine/materials needed.”
Bethanie starts a piece by making her designs digitally. She then prints them out on the reverse of the final piece, and starts cutting. She uses a very sharp scalpel and a cutting mat. It is a time consuming process, but the end results are unique pieces. They are finished off with custom made frames, which makes each one extra special.
Bethanie works from home, in her spare-room studio. “All my mess is in the spare room, so it’s like a studio as I don’t think you can do anything else in there!”
After graduating from her degree in Illustration, Bethanie did an internship with acclaimed illustrator and papercutter Owen Gildersleeve. “His work is amazing and he has a lot of talent! I really enjoyed working with him, and it really helped me work out what I wanted to do. I realised I wanted to make small pieces for everyone to have in their homes, rather than making a large piece for an advertisement that would later be stored in a drawer and never seen again.”
Bethanie has always wanted to have her own business, and she really enjoys it. Though like most artists, she finds the paperwork a bit of a chore! She has recently had a big breakthrough :
“I received a very large wholesale order where my papercut bikes will be displayed behind the check in desks of 236 hotels! It was hard to get through as they wanted them quite quickly, but it was amazing at the same time! I am not sure if I am allowed to say what the hotel chain is yet, but they will be all around the world, which I am still finding hard to comprehend.”
The excitement of this hasn’t gone to Bethanie’s head though. She knows building a business takes time. “I wish to create expand my range of maps and designs and to sell in more independent shops. I currently also have a part time job while also managing my business. It would be amazing if I could just do my business full time, however I don’t think this will be in the near future.”
There may be a way to go for Bethanie’s business, but in meantime she still gets a thrill from the fact that people actually purchase her work and love it. “I am privileged to be able to make what I want and other people to like and even buy them.”