Are you a lover of paper crafts? Buckle up because today we’re spotlighting an amazing paper artist. Heather, creator of Especially Paper, is shedding some light on paper crafting and design with the help of Silhouette.
Heather is the mastermind behind Especially Paper and creates works of art from her home in D.C. For nearly six years, she has been using her Silhouette to create 3D paper objects, such as paper flowers, ornaments, and garlands. “I typically start with a hand-drawn sketch or even a hand-cut paper model before designing pieces in Adobe Illustrator. From there, I bring the shapes into Silhouette Studio to cut.”
Heather describes her aesthetic as being graphic with clean lines but also lots of attention to detail. When she’s not creating, she is outside looking for inspiration. She’s either taking pictures or traveling or hiking up a mountain (she just recently conquered Kilimanjaro).
How It All Started
As a college student, Heather studied graphic design and learned how to use related software programs. That gave her the technical foundation for what she does today. She started Especially Paper in 2012 after helping her mom and sister create decorations for an event — a Fabulous Fifties themed banquet. That’s when she got her very first Silhouette cutting machine. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to start a shop to have an excuse to craft paper goods for other people. She first set up Especially Paper on Etsy before eventually creating EspeciallyPaper.com. For the first year or two, she sold mostly cake buntings, garland kits, and paper letters. Over time, the product lineup evolved to also include digital downloads. Today, she still offers some physical goods, but most of her products are digital cutting projects that can be downloaded. What sets Heather apart from other artists are the accompanying video tutorials and project how-tos that help illustrate the processes she’s learned.
Inspiring and Innovating
When Heather is searching for inspiration, she likes to browse flower seed catalogs, visit exhibits, study window displays, and scope out trends on social media. “Often simply making and playing with shapes inspires a new idea. The more time I spend actually making things, the more ideas I have. For me, finding space in the day to be playful and experiment is key to coming up with new designs.”
Paper is Heather’s go-to material because of its versatility (she loves a mid-weight cardstock 65 lb). Even though paper is a relatively inexpensive medium, you can create everything with it, from tiny detailed miniatures to huge life-size displays. You can also cut it, shape it, texturize it, and build with it.
She also loves the building aspect when it comes to making three-dimensional objects. Creating shapes using math and geometry makes the creative process more puzzle-like, which is quite fun.
Starting A Business
Over the years Heather has grown her business with the help of Silhouette. There are thousands of users who have established a business using our Silhouette machines. When asked what advice she would pass along to someone who was just starting out, she said, “If you’re willing to commit the time and energy, starting a new business is totally within reach. It can be a challenge to know where to start, but the key is just starting! Take one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have your first sale. Then you’ll have your one-hundredth sale. A lot of creative people tend to be perfectionists, which can become an excuse to procrastinate. But don’t wait for things to be perfect or you’ll give yourself permission to put it off forever. Put something out there that you think is good, learn from the experience, and then evolve from there.
“I’ve learned so much since those early days (and I still have lots to learn). Starting and running a small business means figuring out every aspect of the business. That can be a challenge, but it is an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s never boring!”