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Emma Taylor, Paper Artist
Emma Taylor

Interview With Paper Artist, Emma Taylor

“Creating detailed work using paper really appealed to me”

Paper artist Emma Taylor creates highly intricate sculptures out of paper using second-hand books. Find out where she gets her ideas from and what makes paper such a great medium to work with.

How Did You Start Working With Books And Paper?

I was doing a project in Sixth Form, and I saw a series of book sculptures that had been left in libraries in Edinburgh. It was the first time I had seen books used in art and it was just revolutionary for me, so I wanted to form my own style and have a go. I’d always loved anything with really intricate detail, so the possibility of creating detailed work using paper really appealed to me.

How Do You Choose The Books And Themes?

I’ll visit market stalls, antique shops or charity shops, and browse their books, to see if anything jumps out at me. It may be the title or what the book looks like. I’ll also pick up books that are falling apart so I can repurpose them and save them from being thrown out. The theme then follows the subject of the book.

Emma Taylor, Paper Artist

What’s Paper Like To Work With As A Medium?

It’s quite delicate, so I have to be very gentle when using it. But it’s great because I can cut it in such intricate detail. It’s also very versatile and can be set in different shapes. I’ll soak the paper with a diluted solution of PVA glue then put a prop inside to form the shape. When it dries, it will keep the shape.

How Does Sustainability Influence Your Work?

Trees feature quite heavily in my work. I’ll quite often include trees or have a big tree as the main feature. Returning the book from where it originally came from is definitely a recurring theme.

Emma Taylor, Paper Artist

Which One Of Your Pieces Has Got The Best Reaction?

The first one that I made, a sculpture of a figure sitting under a tree with a hat on reading a book, is very popular with people. I did enjoy that one, but I personally love anything with a tree in it. I also have a piece that features a pair of swans that I enjoyed making. I walk by the river pretty much every day and always watch the swans, so that was very personal.

How Do You Plan To Develop Your Art?

I’ve only ever used one book, so I want to do some larger pieces, combining lots of books into one sculpture. I also want to break out from the constraints of the format of the book, have things overflowing a bit more. That’s definitely something that I am working on.

If you found this Q&A interesting and would like to find out more information about Emma and her work, visit

Follow her work on Instagram @emmataylorbooks

The Paper Fact File

Paper is one of the most sustainable and recycled materials in the world!

Visit the Paper Fact File to discover the facts about paper’s sustainable attributes. Some might surprise you!