Interview with PAPER&WOOD

A few weeks back, while watching Sunday Brunch, we saw this fella creating amazing intricate pieces of art using paper and wood. This guy is called Zack Mclaughlin. His company is called PAPER&WOOD.

After looking at his website, we noticed he offers sensational wedding flower decorations – made of paper and wood! We use paper flowers on our chocolate wedding favour boxes so thought we would get in touch about collaborating on wedding décor. I then thought it would be interesting to interview him and find out more about this incredibly creative man!

I hope you enjoy reading his answers and learning more about him. Do check out his website and social media and see all his amazing creations. We hope to be collaborating on weddings with him soon. Thank you for your time Zack and we wish you continued success – what you create is so unique and breath taking.

The Interview

Hi Zack, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions. When and how did you start on your paper and wood craft journey?

It was completely by accident really, after leaving university where I studied Illustration, I illustrated children’s books for a few years as well as working on my own book. In this book a little boy is held captive by a monster and is inspired by a little Robin to make a bird lantern out of old books and willow sticks, on which he flies off and escapes where he is. I couldn’t visualise this bird lantern at all, every drawing and painting just didn’t look right.

So, I went about making a large-scale paper bird lantern out of pages from an old book and willow sticks, with the view to draw from this as a prop. It took me a while as I hadn’t made anything like this before, but by the end I was really pleased with what I had made and this sparked something within me, I just wanted to make more, and my obsession with nature and detail lead me to make more and more realistic looking birds.

What are the merits of paper / wood flowers for weddings rather than real flowers?

For me, you can’t really beat the beauty and smell of a real flower, but I will say that having paper flowers instead means you can keep them forever, give them as gifts and create displays at home that will forever remind you of your big day. Also having to throw away all your stunning blooms from your wedding day is a really horrible thing to do, having them made out of paper just allows them to last your whole life together!

What is your favourite flower to create using paper / wood?

My favourite flower so far to make out of paper has been the Rose, it just has so many beautiful layers of petals in it and it is such a pretty flower in general.

Any flowers you’ve yet to make in paper / wood that you want to try?

Too many!! That’s the thing with nature as your inspiration, everything I see inspires me and makes me want to create it out of paper! There is simply not enough time to make it all. I would absolutely love to make a meadow, or a jungle or any beautiful immersive space with paper, really give some of the awe you feel when out in the wild and surrounded by its beauty.

What are the main challenges using paper / wood to create a natural item like a flower?

The hardest thing to recreate is the fragile beauty of a flower. There are so many little details, and all of them are just so precious and beautiful, what I have to do is pick out what I think are the main features and then try to recreate the best I can. Playing with materials really helps, accidents can lead to so many great discoveries.

Do you ever listen to music while working? What’s on your playlist currently?

I listen to all sorts! The nice thing about what I do is that I can listen to anything I like as I work, music, audiobooks and podcasts. I even watch programmes if the task I am doing is repetitive and needs minimal brain power. Music wise I really am so eclectic that I can’t give you an example, just any genre really. I tend to listen to fantasy or sci fi audiobooks. Podcasts I will listen to science/nature ones, true crime ones, comedy, politics, really and truly so many things! I am usually working for 12 hours straight, that’s a lot of time to fill!

What do you do when you aren’t creating beautiful art pieces?

Actually, I do very little apart from work, it really has taken over my life, but as I love what I do then this isn’t a bad thing. I do swim a lot, go out for walks in the local wetlands centre or down the canal for inspiration.

When is your most creative time of day?

I really don’t have one, I seem to find energy all the time as I get so into what I am making.

Do you have set working hours, or do you work when creativity strikes?

I always get into the studio for around 9am, then depending on workload, I will work until between 9 and 10pm, sometimes later. Creativity always strikes!

What are your go to food and drinks while you’re working on a paper / wood project?

I don’t have a go to, just my one coffee in the morning, that is a must! Other than that, I will try and mix up what I eat, trying to get a good variety. But I am partial to a protein energy bar!

How do people hear about you usually and get in touch for commissions?

To be honest most of all my commissions and work come through Instagram. It is such a great place for visual artists to show what you do.

Have you ever had to turn a commission down? If so, why?

Not yet, but I have been so ridiculously busy before that I should have!

Have you ever made any CATS!? (We are cat mad!)

Not yet…very open to making one though, I love them too!

I’m guessing nature inspires you the most – where is your favourite place to soak up some nature inspiration vibes?

You are right, it’s all about nature. My favourite place is actually somewhere I haven’t been before. Brand new flora and fauna that is just mind blowing to me, new colours, textures, sounds and inspiration everywhere! I recently went on holiday to Mexico and it was such a stunning country where nature is everywhere, just breath taking. Also, I saw my first Hummingbirds in the wild and they are just beyond beautiful.

What has been your most exciting project to date?

My most exciting so far has been turning Jo Malone London’s boutique store on Regent street in London into a paper secret garden. With the help of many others we made around 100,000 paper elements, flowers, leaves, butterflies and birds, to make the store feel like a garden where all their scents come from. It was just wonderful to create a fully immersive space like that.

Have you made any wedding paper flower bouquets or paper flower crowns for weddings yet? Or is this something you could do?

Not yet, but I definitely would love to!

Thank you again Zack for your time answering our questions.
Please do check out his work online.

If you’re planning a wedding and want some bespoke, everlasting and unusual décor options – get in touch with him. We can supply your chocolate wedding favours or bespoke chocolate designs in matching boxes with paper flower detailing to tie into your overall wedding décor style.

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