sea change

papercut window

Here’s the new central part of our window at work, with what turned into a sea-themed frame around the shop’s name/logo.

I did it in cut paper, so that it would blend with the cut paper birds and flowers that Emily Hearn did, years ago (we just love her birds too much to take them down!) Once I stopped thinking about it, and just started doing it, it only took an afternoon of doodling, using a scalpel and a swivel knife, instead of a pen. I penciled guidlenes in as I went, and the whole frame grew organically…only the logo/name was done according to a detailed sketch, to get the trademark letters right.

ship and the West wind

I learned to use the swivel knife on this project, and it’s one of my favorite tools, now.

When I started out I thought I was going to do something about clouds and the sky. But the sea took over, and before I knew it, in rushed waves, seaweed, a ship, and an octopus! Not surprisingly, as the sea is a huge part of my life.

Towards the end I really started to get into detailed cutting (that’s always the way, isn’t it? By the time you’re all warmed up and the ideas start to come, the job’s seven-eighths done!) and put in the West wind and a tentacled Kraken to flank the ship.


19 thoughts on “sea change

    1. Lovely! Darwin’s got its charms, though it’s hard to stand next to Singapore for fabulous cities and fabulous food or fabulous art shops! Love your blog… Sure, drop in if you need pencils or something…LOL…we’re tucked among the Parap shops, and in the thick of the Saturday Parap markets, which are as close as we get to street food over here.


      1. It looks like I will only be there on a Sunday and your shop will be closed. But I was wondering if you could recommend any good places to score old vintage things… Would the Rapid Creek Sunday Markets be the right place to head to? I am only in Darwin on Sunday. Will be heading to Kakadu and Uluru after that.


        1. Possibly Rapid Creek, and there’s Nightcliff market, as well. If you had more time I’d send you to the Shoal Bay dump shop, oodles of treasurable trash, from furniture and old prints/records to spinning wheels… they are open on Sunday, incidentally. Shoal Bay is along Vanderlin Drive, after the Crocodylus Park roundabout. Take the #5 bus and ask for the Crocodile park, then walk. But you might want to get a pickup truck, to load all the stuff in. 😉


  1. i would never be able to create anything this amazing even with a swivel knife!! The work is so detailed. What a great job. I love the way it just flowed.


  2. Oh WOW! you have totally inspired me here. Have been looking for ways to decorate my boring white bedroom on a budget. I’m going to whip out all my leftover wallpapers and try this on one of the walls. Just need to go buy me a swivel knife…..


  3. That would be really cool to do something like this on our house windows for Halloween with a spooky tree, owls and some tombstones. Your work is truly awesome! I never heard of a swivel knife before…how does it work?


    1. The blade, which is small, is set at an angle and sits in a Teflon pin that swivels freely within the handle of the knife. As you move the handle, the blade will swivel to cut in the direction you are pulling it. Helps to make curvy and rounded cuts smoothly, and with less stopping to move or adjust the paper (as with a regular x-acto knife or scalpel).


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