News Environment These Magnificent Paper Artworks Are Inspired by Nature and Fairytales Makerie Studio's swirling, transforming motifs are delicately made with paper. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated September 7, 2021 08:48PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Makerie Studio Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive It may not seem like it, but paper is one of the most versatile art materials available. Not only can you draw on it, but you can also cut it for collages or fold it into life-like sculptures, but thanks to artists who are reimagining the medium, one can also now combine paper with machine algorithms or even create a new kind of "engineered" origami. Paper can be made into all kinds of art-worthy things, and Julie Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscroft of Makerie Studio are yet another duo of creatives who are exploring the imaginative possibilities of how paper can be cut, assembled, and delicately arranged into delightful artworks inspired by nature. Makerie Studio The pair splits their time between New York City, London, and Oslo. They met a decade ago when both were studying graphic design at Bath University in the United Kingdom. The two became fast friends and began to push beyond two dimensions of art by experimenting with different methods of creating art pieces in three dimensions. The two continued their creative collaboration after university. One of their first big joint efforts together was making a paper sculpture of a peacock, which was inspired by a finely bound volume of Persian poems known as The Great Omar. Unfortunately, this precious jewel-adorned book was lost in the ill-fated sinking of the Titanic in 1912. More fortunately, Wilkinson and Horscroft's peacock sculpture was purchased by Shepherds Bookbinders in London, giving a boost to the nascent studio. Makerie Studio Since then, the studio has made commissioned works for big fashion brand names like Gucci, Prada, and Nike, but also for organizations like Amnesty International. The studio's work often dwells on the fantastical, they say: "We love to create things people are not used to experiencing in daily life. we often get inspiration from our imaginations and old fairy tales to create unusual motifs." Wilkinson and Horscroft have a knack for elevating a humble material into something quite elegant and refined, as they did with this series inspired by a line of high-end wallpapers by The House of Hackney. Paul Zak Using thick, iridescent papers with decorative motifs, the studio manages to creating a striking assemblage of regal flowers that seem to have come alive off the wall. They say: "To us, each flower head is its own microcosm, with its own set of rules and expression, yet it’s clear they belong in the same universe. They feel like planets in a solar system or different chocolates in a box — and there’s something really appealing about that! Different… but the same." Sometimes, their projects are more personal in nature, as was this series titled "Circling." Makerie Studio Set against a dark background, the compositions seem to suggest a center of calm in a swirling storm of moving components, implying a dynamism in the midst of stillness. Makerie Studio The studio explains that the "Circling" series is... "A project that came from trying to deal with a period of intense fear and worry, this was their way of dealing with anxiety. Making something constructive out of a stressful state of mind to let them feel less helpless, literally turning darkness into beauty. Each piece is handmade using cut and layered iridescent gold and black paper." Following in the circular theme, the studio did a series of nature-inspired mandalas for a show that features metamorphosing motifs. Makerie Studio It seems like plants are emerging from the center, and transform into butterflies or frogs. Makerie Studio Another gorgeous piece, titled "Entomologist," features a series of jewel-like paper-cut insects, arranged in the style of a shadow box. Makerie Studio The various filigreed layers of winged details make it seem like these insects are three-dimensionally popping off the page, ready to fly away. Makerie Studio We love this "Jellyfish" piece too, where the lace-like details make this creature seem quite delicate and otherworldly. Luke Kirwan As one can see here, the intricate patterns change beautifully with different colors and angles of light. Luke Kirwan Though paper is essentially quite a humble material, artists like Wilkinson and Horscroft show that it can be elevated and completely transformed by applying skillful techniques, a focused thematic approach, and a good bit of creativity. You can see more of their work at Makerie Studio and Instagram.