Another artist from my hometown of Olympia, Nikki McClure's works have a Zen simplicity that is both thought provoking and soothing. She is known for her intricate paper cuts painstakingly crafted with a knife as opposed to a brush or pencil. Community, motherhood, work, and nature play a prominent role in her work.
Her latest book 'Collect Raindrops' is a calming celebration of the little and important things in life and along with her other work is available at BuyOlympia.com.
What would you say is the influence of your environment and Olympia in general on your work?
It is the influence. Everything that I make is informed by the air I breathe and the trees and birds and soil. The physical environment is most important to me. And the human/built/cultural environment- this is important too, though less so now than in the past. Too many people I care about have moved away and I am so busy making my family strong and healthy that I have become a bit of a hermit.
And what reasons would you say lie behind the number of artists who are either from or who have settled in the area?
The foggy mornings and tidal smell and the feeling of co-operation and altruism.
Would you tell us about your process of creating your paper cuts? And how would you say the process adds to your work?
"I like that I can't erase, that I have to find a solution that works with the mistake, rather than erasing it."
I sketch ideas- from memories and photographs and staged photos of poses remembered by my muscles. Then I make a larger- to-size sketch, transfer this to black paper with pencil, and then start cutting. Make a mistake, fix it somehow, and keep cutting. The mistake part is very important. I like that I can't erase, that I have to find a solution that works with the mistake, rather than erasing it.
Also the flow of the blade, cutting is different than drawing. You can't draw a line over and over till you get it "right"- you just have to go for it with the knife in hand. There is a necessary confidence in the line.