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Handmade Seller Interview: Zara Olivia Noble

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This week’s interview is with UK-based Zara Olivia Noble, who creates intricate paper cuts and illustrations. And the paper cuts are all hand-cut too – no cutting machines involved – so it’s all even more impressive!

And now we have an interview with Zara so you can get to know her and her amazing work better:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a paper artist and illustrator based in the little seaside town of Whitby in Yorkshire, England. I studied Art & Design (Interdisciplinary) at Leeds College of Art. My work explores the notion of repetition, monotony and geometry through intricate hand-generated paper cuttings and hand-rendered illustrations; often focusing on process as well as outcome. I have produced work for various installations and exhibitions throughout the UK and Internationally.

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How did you get started in your handmade business?

I started selling sporadically to friends and family during my time at University and continued to do so after I graduated. Within the last three years my business has grown and I want to push on and continue expanding.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

I have always been a creative and unique individual, and after studying art and design at school, I wanted to further expand my skills and knowledge at University. Upon graduation I started working with some of the finest paper artists including Andrew Singleton and Richard Sweeney, within this year I gained valid experience and understanding and it made me want to become as successful as them!

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Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an avid runner, hockey and netball player, so when not cutting paper or drawing you can usually find me outdoors, on the pitch or on court! Exercising helps me de-stress and unwind after a day concentrating in the studio and keeps me occupied!

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I have been seriously creating art since starting university in 2010, and have been selling online since 2015.

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How many different places do you sell from?

I sell my work in a couple of local stores which are:

I also have work for sale in York at Kunsthuis Gallery.

I predominantly sell online from my Etsy Store.

Do you collect anything?

I am a huge No Doubt fan and collect anything and everything relating to the band and Gwen Stefani, including records, clothes and even newspaper clippings. I also collect beer mats and try to get one in every establishment I go in!

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

The three tools I could not live without are: my cutting mat, knife and most importantly lots of spare sharp blades!

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What was the best holiday you’ve ever been on?

I was lucky enough to visit Connecticut and New York to install some work during 2014, although some time was spent working this really was an amazing trip. New York is an incredible city and the two weeks spent their felt like home, I took in some of the iconic buildings and sites as well as meeting friends and even catching some ice hockey!

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

I’d love to recommend my good friend Jessica Hogarth; her work is incredible and based on the local Whitby area where we both live and play hockey. She focuses on print, pattern and surface design, check her out!

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Do you have any particular sale that stands out in your memory? Why?

The first sale within my Etsy store really stands out, it was to someone I knew locally and was a large paper-cut based on my trip to New York. The buzz and relief of the first sale online, thinking someone actually likes and wants to buy work is amazing. And I love going round to the purchasers’ house seeing my paper-cut framed and in pride of place in the family kitchen!


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