12 days of Christmas in a Paper Wonderland

Most people are familiar with the Christmas
song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. To most it’s a delightful
nonsensical rhyme set to music. As I recently discovered, it is a good deal more than just a repetitious
melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

12 Days of Christmas Paper Cut Motifs

To give you a brief background on
the history, Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when
Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from any
practice of their faith by law – private or public. It was a crime to be a
“The Twelve Days of
Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism
songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith and used as
a memory aid.
Today, this famous song was chosen to partner with our very
popular ecard of the same name; the 12 days of Christmas paper cut card.

As an artist it is only natural that I draw inspiration from my own Danish heritage in my work.  In Denmark it is common to cut and display paper cuttings in windows all year round, but especially during Christmas.   They are also used to hang on Christmas and garden trees across all seasons in the form of paper hearts or stars. 

Common Christmas designs include sleighs and reindeer, flora and fauna, nativity scenes, villages etc. Contemporary designs modern silhouettes, cityscapes and famous sayings. 

And what better idea than to bring this famously silly series of gifts from the carol to life than in 12 ornaments in a paper cutting window scene.

To begin, I created paper cut motifs following the lyrics
of the song. Each motif starts its life as a hand-drawn sketch and then is
scanned and rendered on to the computer as a vector illustration.  The digitalized images then come to life in
frame-by-frame animations. Turtle doves flutter, ballerinas twirl, swans glide and
pipers play their flutes in celebration of the festive season.
Rather than being a static two dimensional setting, I
designed the ecard to have visual depth and dimension.  To achieve this I placed the paper
cutting within a window and adding a snowy background, adding contextual depth and dimension, resulting in a dynamic moving picture.

Painting with Fresh Roses

The most amazing smell of roses filled my little studio today, as I was ‘painting’ with roses.  Gently prying them apart or manipulating them into an arrangement for the newest card I am working on for Mother’s Day.

After weeks of working late into the night at my easel, painting on canvas, it was incredibly rewarding to work with this new medium.  

A slightly wilting rose is beautiful in a way that is hard to explain – there is an instant patina and texture, it reminds you how fleeting the delicate petals are, yet this is when we finally get to see the hidden beauty at the core.  I wanted to capture this in the arrangement of the petals and buds in the shape of a heart, not the cliche Valentine arrangement in usually brings to mind, but something slightly more ephemeral and imperfectly perfect.  If that makes sense 🙂

I must confess I cannot say that ‘no roses where hurt in the process of making this card’, but there were some lucky survivors that made it into a vase after the shoot.  I collected a nice big bag of petals now waiting in my fridge to be dried using a new method I am going to try in the microwave – later to be used in a painting, which I will post if/when it works out.

Going over the photos from the shoot this evening I was quite pleased with the results.  On to turning all of this into a story with animation …

Earth Day is Tuesday 22 April

Earth Day is this Tuesday April 22.  To show our support of this global initiative I have created a card inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote and we are making this card free for everyone to send along with our other Earth Day ecards all year long.
The card is part of our new series of Notes, for quick and easy sending, with full mobile support.  And best of all it features two of my favorite flowers, roses and peonies, all hand painted with loving detail!
Earth Day inspired ecard for Ojolie of Roses and Peonies

Launching All New Line of Notes

Spring brings hope, inspiration and the promise of new beginnings.  So of course I have been inspired to launch a new line of Notes and here are the first ones for spring.  Perfect for sending a quick and easy message anytime with our classic modern look and design, as always hand painted for that unique Ojolie touch.

Tulips, Hyacinths & Ranunculus handpainted flower ecard for Ojolie
Pansies, snowdrops and shamrocks bring  message of spring
Spring ecard for Ojolie

Working On New Birthday Card Designs

 Today I started work on a new series of notes, the first will be available soon for spring, Earth Day and birthdays.  I will be sharing a little bit here and there of what I am tinkering with in the studio …

painting new birthday card designs in the studio

And while I had the camera out I couldn’t resist including a photo of the lovely light that filtered in … sending a little light from me to you!

inspiring light 

Oh, and before I forget, as always let me know what you think and if you have any special requests

The Art of Origami

photo by cedison on flickr

As you have probably realized by now, I like origami. I like the fact that you can take something as humble as a piece of paper and make something really beautiful, functional, imaginative and expressive simply by folding it. Now, I say “simply” by folding it, but honestly, it is not always simple.

photo by etringita on flickr

Sometimes even when an origami designer has gone through all the trouble of coming up with an amazing design and has outlined each step carefully, people like me, who don’t seem to possess the origami kind of mind get confused, little pebbles of sweat appearing on our brow as we unconsciously stick our tongue out and to the side of our mouth while we wrestle with this humble little piece of paper that just WON’T submit to us.

Photo and design by polyscene

So my hat’s off to all those frontier breaking origami designers who continue to come up with new ways of using origami to make clothing, fabric, home decor, art, etc. etc. etc.

Amazing crane designed by Roman Diaz and Daniel Naranjo

check out the Octuple Helix Compass Rose Jar from the fitful flog origami designer Philip Chapman-Bell

Teach your kids, it will increase their patience and small motor skills while having fun at the same time. With this in mind, you can look forward to another card planned for the holiday season which will feature more paper folding arts with instructions on how to fold it yourself.

photo by Markybon on flickr

In the meantime, you can send the three cards I have already created about folding paper

Click on a thumbnail to preview the card.

You should also check out these fascinating blogs about origami which might even inspire you to get started folding away as well.

origami tessellations by amazing designer Eric Gjerde
fitful flog by origami designer Philip Chapman-Bell
polyscene works by Polly Verity

Some books to consider are Origami Art by Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander, Advanced Origami: An Artist’s Guide to Performances in Paper by Michael G. LaFosse and Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art by Robert J. Lang. There are of course many other basic books on origami, some of which will be more suitable for beginners and kids. It should be noted that the design of the butterfly in my first origami card was by Michael G. LaFosse and used with his permission.