Crackers – with their paper hats, predictable jokes and useless bit of tat – are SUCH a major part of the Christmas meal. For us Brits, I should add. As it seems that ‘the yanks’ don’t share our enthusiasm for a bit-of-a-bang before their festive turkey. Last year, as I had been previously warned that Sarasota wouldn’t offer us any cracker shopping, I crammed a big box of Waitrose’s finest into my suitcase and, of course, unpacked sad, flattened versions on arrival.
This year, I felt smug. I had a plan.
You see, in a world where paper is being increasingly replaced by screens, we need to count as many paper lovers as we can. And, in deepest Cornwall, I found someone who loves paper SO much, he has designed a flat pack Christmas cracker! And that’s not all. I was blown away by Hupa Lupa and their homemade card designs. It seems there’s nothing the creative (and founder) Ian Walden can’t do with some paper and his endless, wacky ideas.
Rather cunningly, many of his designs use materials that no longer have a use, such as out of circulation bank notes, coins and bus tickets.
So, delighted with my discovery, I immediately ordered my crackers (looking more like pack of greetings cards) ready for our Christmas Day abroad. And then I found myself interviewing Ian about his paper obsession:
What is it about paper which excites you? Everything. Its tactile nature, texture and colour, but, most of all, what I can do with it.
What would you LOVE to make in paper which has never been done before? That’s a tough question. I tend to make things that are relevant to a particular person. I once made a scale version of a grand piano for a musician friend of mine. It’s possible to make anything from paper, if you have the time.
Do Kindles upset you? Coming from a graphic design background, I’ve seen the use of paper decrease over the years. I do feel a slight pang of sadness when you can no longer hold a book or album in you hands. But the iPad, well, that’s a different story…
How do your colleagues view paper? Most of the people I work with are younger than me and so never learnt the old school tricks of the trade, like foiling or embossing by hand. I’m always trying to get them excited by the potential of paper, but it’s a passion not shared by everyone. It takes time and patience which is often lacking these days. You can’t rush paper.
What can’t paper do? In my mind, there is nothing that paper can’t do. Paper is a vessel for many things good and bad, but still, it is an amazing medium.
How long does it take to turn a concept into a real idea/product? Anything from 5 minutes to hours… and sometimes days. I often make a prototype in several phases before creating the final version.
How would you like Hupa Lupa to be described at the bus stop? Like a pop-up book. Clever, witty and fun, but most of all “How do they do that?”