Jo Nicolson, AKA QueenieDot, is a crafter and papercutting artist extraordinaire.
She lives in Frinton-on-Sea with her husband, rescue dog and vintage cat, and she runs her successful business from home.
How did you end up doing the job you do?
Well, it was completely by accident! I didn’t even know papercutting existed ten years ago. I stumbled across it and thought I’d give it a try when making a card for my now husband. I really enjoyed the process so kept practising and trying new things and evolving my style. The nature of papercutting really appeals to me, starting off with a humble sheet of paper and turning it into something beautiful. When papercutting, you always end up with less than you started which appeals to the minimalist in me!
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a lovely 50th wedding anniversary commission for a special couple. Also, I’m creating a series of miniature papercut dioramas along a Wes Anderson theme!
Describe your first job
It was at an Insurance Brokers in the town where I grew up, based in an old house on the high street. A group of us brokers used to work in the lounge area, the secretaries were in the bedrooms and there were mice in the kitchen! The owner would, when the mood struck him, put the phones on silent, lock the front door and play Irish music at full blast!
Who would you most like to work with?
I would love to work with an author on a papercut book cover design. Books are a huge part of my life and to see a design of mine on the front of a novel would be incredible.
Where is your favourite place to find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. It can be a song lyric, a line from a book, something someone says. I always keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas that can be padded out at a later date.
What advice would you give your children (or nieces / nephews / young people)?
I don’t have children but I do have a wonderful niece and nephew who are both brilliantly creative and inventive. I would say to them that they should never stop creating. Never let a teacher tell you what is wrong or right, just enjoy it.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A hairdresser! I always thought that was exactly what I’d do and didn’t really have a back-up plan. Then, when I was fourteen, I got a Saturday job working at a local hairdressers and realized it wasn’t for me, so had some serious rethinking to do!
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
My lovely Grandad always used to say ‘Get wet, get dry again’. He was very outdoorsy and whilst he mostly meant it literally, it has become a bit of a metaphor in other areas. Meaning that everything is temporary. Don’t take things too seriously as it will pass soon enough.
What are you most proud of?
It might sound cheesy but I am proud of every single order I receive, the fact that someone has found and chosen my work makes me incredibly happy and I’m grateful for every single lovely customer. I particularly love working on bespoke orders and understanding a little bit about the special recipient so I can incorporate that in the design is very special to me. I recently had the honour of working on a 70th wedding anniversary papercut for a couple who had met and fallen in love while working as decoders at Bletchley Park. To be a very small part in their special celebrations was so lovely.
Who is your favourite fictional female character?
I have always really loved Little My from the Moomin books. She is small, brave and fearless with a meddlesome nature. She won’t be swayed by others, always preferring to make up her own mind about things and likes a little chaos in her life, but she is overall very sweet and a reliable friend. Not a bad way to live your life really!
Right now I’m…
Watching… I really don’t watch much TV. Now that the Great Interior Design Challenge has finished, there’s nothing else I watch regularly. I’m awaiting the return of the Great British Sewing Bee. Basically, give me a creative competition, run it for a few weeks, throw in a couple of judges and I’m happy!
Reading… ‘Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither’ – An utterly beautifully-written debut novel by Sara Baume.
Listening to…. It’s rare for me to listen to any one artist, so I always have an eclectic playlist on the go, usually heavily influenced by the 70s, which is my favourite music decade.
Pass it on…
1. Jane Tibbetts – @chattynora1 – Jane is a typographic artist based in Yorkshire. She is incredibly talented, plus I’ve known her for years in real life and she’s a thoroughly lovely lady too!
2. Jennie Maizels – @jenniemaizels – Illustrator, patch designer, online sketchbook club tutor and queen of colour!
Jo Nicolson (QueenieDot)
Instagram and Twitter – @queeniedot