Reena Gonsalves’ passion leaves her with bruises on her fingers thanks to paper and scissor cuts. But the 33-year-old brushes it off as battle scars and considers Papertole to be her first love. She formed Papercut, her online brand in April this year after quitting her job in marketing.
Gonsalves came across 3D Decoupage or Papertole when she was on a trip to the UK in 2001. It consists of cutting out sections of multiple copies of the same picture, which are separated from each other and seamlessly built into a 3D representation of the original print. The individual pieces can be shaped to give the picture a 3D effect, while for some images one can add in new pieces to spice up the design.
“Papertole is practiced across the world but India is yet to warm up to it. I started by making greeting cards and gifting it to friends and family. I customised Christmas cards and other products, and over the years, I learned to juggle the demands of my job with creating Papertole products,” she shares.
While some pieces take her a couple of hours to make, others require months. Her largest artwork creation was a 35 x 65 inch artwork while the most challenging project was a Feng Shui-themed Papertole.
“People look at the designs and assume they were computer-generated. I tell them that it is hand-made and thus no two pieces are exactly the same,” she adds. Since this craft requires specific materials that are unavailable in India, Gonsalves had to source it from the US, Canada and New Zealand.
Presently, she works by herself but employs a group of illustrators for designing. “But I soon hope to start Papertole classes in the city and eventually hire the students to help out with making the products,” observes the self-taught artist, who extensively browses through YouTube and on the Internet to pick up the latest techniques. Gonsalves prefers a week’s notice for orders post which she brainstorms with the clients on themes and customisations.