Hannah Lobley began working with paper in 2002 after accidentally leaving a book out in the rain. Ultimately this resulted in the award-winning Paperwork. Her collections combine two materials that began at the same source. Paper, a short-term material, is recycled to create a new shape and texture, thus extending their journey. As the pieces are wood worked each material’s grain exposes the consequences of her working actions, revealing the unseen internal imprint as the surface is scraped away.
Hannah could not bear to throw away her ruined book and decided to reuse it. She had previously specialised in wood during her degree, and so she transferred her woodworking techniques to the paper. Recycling has always been important to Hannah, and the technique she developed has become a defining aspect of her practice. Create this specialised technique allows her to create new pieces using printed pages of unwanted books and paper that are no longer usable as originally intended.
Each item is hand-made by Hannah in her Derbyshire studio: she begins by making the material, each page is layered and transformed back into a solid wood-like material. Traditional wood-working methods are then used to shape objects from the material Hannah creates. The unique surface patterns of the paper when the three-dimensional objects are worked are unique and can never be recreated. These patterns echo wood grain; in a pleasing cycle, wood becomes paper becomes wood.
In 2019 Hannah came full circle herself and began combining paper with wood. The relationship between the two materials is taking her on a new journey within her artistic process. Continuing the working practices she previously employed with each material independently, she has married the two with stunning results. Hannah is fascinated by natural shapes and the beauty of nature, and delights in combining these with recycling and the evolution of her ingenuously created materials.
Hannah Lobley is one of Design-Nation’s Fellows.