Arts·Paper Cuts

Paper turns into extravagant sculptures in Lacy Barry's Berlin studio

Working from her imagination, a dye cutter, a strong sense of colour and inspiration that things like architecture and flowers, Barry makes paper do magical things.

'The fragility, I think, gives it the essence'

Working from her imagination, a dye cutter, a strong sense of colour and inspiration from everything from architecture to flowers, Lacy Barry makes paper do magical things. 3:55

This video is part of our new series Paper Cuts, in which you get to be hypnotized by artists doing incredible things with paper, scissors, glue sticks and X-Acto knives.

We were excited to track down artist Lacy Barry in Berlin when we saw her elaborate headpieces — made entirely from paper — on Instagram. Each of her works is made from sometimes tiny bits of paper, fashioned together to become something remarkable. She's shown this work internationally, and she's been featured by what seems to be every art blog we've heard of.

So when she agreed to let filmmaker Pablo Aravena into her studio to watch her make a new work — part of her Pillars series — we were pretty enthusiastic. In this video, you get to see how Barry works from a colour story, a strong inspiration and a partnership with her dye cutting machine to create a whole new piece.

(Lacy Barry)

And it's not always easy. Of working with paper, Barry says, "Some of the challenges working with paper — it's very fragile. So even though it sculpts really well and you can do a lot with it — you can bend it and fold it and all kinds of things — you can tear it, or if you get it wet, it's kind of destroyed and you have to redo that segment of the piece. But the fragility, I think, gives it the essence."

I started working with paper about 10 years ago. I was working in costume and set design and I had a request to make a whole set out of paper and I thought, 'Why not?'- Lacy Barry
Lacy Barry working in her Berlin studio. (CBC Arts)

See more of Lacy Barry's work here. And stay tuned for more Paper Cuts artists to come!

About the Author

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an art history instructor and is always quite terrified of bees.