Magic on paper

Unique hobbies

Magic on paper

Agnisha Gopa Ghosh was surfing the net one day when a post by a UK-based artist caught her eye. This post, that showcased some mesmerising paper-cutting art, inspired her to take up the hobby. Four years have passed since then and Agnisha, who works as the country lead (digital marketing) with Mead Johnson Nutrition, has never looked back.

She says that apart from being a great pastime, this has also helped her explore her creative side. “I was into arts and crafts since childhood. My parents always encouraged me to be involved with some hobby or the other, though I discontinued many of them during my college days,” says Agnisha.

Agnisha took up paper-cutting with a wish to cast her own magical spell on paper. “And the good part about this was that not much investment was required — one just needed paper, a cutting knife with some blades, and a cutting mat,” she details.

The specifics of the paper required differ according to the designs. “I prefer to use 200 gsm paper, which has the right thickness for detailed designs. Some people prefer thicker paper. It all depends on the pressure one puts on the designs,” she says.

The journey from the initial idea to the final product can take from a few hours to a few days, she explains. “After I come up with an idea or a concept, I make a rough sketch on paper. This is when I perfect the designs. After this follows the process follows the process of carving the actual design on the special paper,” she says. The challenge is the sketching as the intricacies of the design have to be checked and perfected. “A design which has words can be tricky as they could fall apart. Unconnected parts can distort the whole pattern,” she says.

The paper Agnisha uses has a textured side and a plain back side. “To make sure that the designs come out well, I trace the designs on the plain back side; like a mirror-image,” she says. She adds that the blades need to be changed in 15 to 20 minutes of cutting as the sharpness of the blade is important. “If not, the knife will end up tearing the paper.”

Most of Agnisha’s designs have a floral touch to them. “My designs are inspired by nature. I seem to have an obsession with roses and flowers; I have an entire set of designs which are inspired by roses. There are also seasonal designs like reindeers, bells and snowglobes that are inspired by the Christmas season,” she says.

She observes that the art requires utmost dedication and a lot of patience. “You need a steady hand as well as the conviction to be able to complete a design.” The craft brings its own share of accidents too, says Agnisha with a smile. “It is an unforgiving art. If you mess up one small bit, then the whole design will go for a toss. I used to make mistakes but over the years, these have reduced a lot”. She adds, “The instrument used has blades as sharp as surgical knives. I used to be very proud of the fact that I have never had any accidents, until last year when I got a deep-cut.”

From awestruck faces to encouraging comments, Agnisha has always been flooded with positive feedback about her designs. “A lot of people cannot believe the intricacy in the designs and the amount of work that goes into each of them. And many of them can’t even believe that the medium is paper,” she says.

(Agnisha can be contacted at handmadez.agnisha@gmail.com)

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