Her post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago would surely strike a chord in a creative mind. Proudly displayed on her wall were pictures of a beautifully decorated candy cart at the 76th birthday celebration of famous business mogul, Rasaq Okoya.
Morenike Gbadamosi, the daughter of foremost business man and art collector, Rasheed Gbadamosi, has an unusual love for papers. She loves to create exquisite decorative designs using paper.
Her creative drive pushed her to start a blog she calls Thoughts, Papers and Scissors to showcase her love for paper crafts. The name is a play on the game Rock Paper Scissors. She changed the Rock to Thoughts to represent how she wants to tell the story behind the crafts she creates on the blog.
“The blog started because for years,” she explains, “I’d been a fan of paper artists who could manipulate an ordinary sheet of paper, through cutting and folding, to create something so beautiful and magical that you almost don’t believe it is made from the same humble sheet of paper we use and throw away every day.”
As an artist, she decided one day to stop being an admirer of paper crafts. She began to creatively engage artists who have struck a creative cord in her. She explored her passion for paper crafts and began to grow her talents.
“Because I’m a great procrastinator,” she adds, “I created the blog as a challenge to myself to publicly showcase my creations so that I’m accountable to my audience as I track my journey into the vast wide world of paper craft.”
Gbadamosi does many things with the paper. She makes cut-out art, cut-out greeting cards, mechanical cards, pop up cards, paper sculptures, kids crafts including party decorations or props.
“II’d always had a fascination with paper,” Gbadamosi says of her love for paper craft. “As a child I remember trying to make my own paper like I’d seen it done in a documentary on how the Chinese make paper. I also remember how I was made the official opener of presents in my house because I loved wrapping paper so much. I would meticulously peel off the cello tape so that the paper wouldn’t tear in order to preserve the beauty of the paper. I’d hand over the wrapping to my mum to keep and reuse as she saw fit. This made my father nickname me “Madam Meticulous”.”
She was later introduced to kirigami, which is a Japanese form of cutting and folding paper to create a three-dimensional form out of a single sheet of paper, whilst studying for her Graphic Design degree at Loughborough University in the UK.
And so, her love for paper has always been there but she never fully explored it until many years later working in advertising. She realised the artist in her was very dissatisfied with restricting her creativity to creating adverts on computers. Working with paper, she gets to use her hands as she can physically touch, feel and shape what she creates and she can be as meticulous as she wants.
“I find it so enjoyable that it’s almost therapeutic. I also get that unrestricted level of artistic self-expression that you can’t really have working in advertising. My target market are people who love and appreciate art. They like bespoke products that are beautiful, well made and a reflection of their good taste.”
With her personalised works gracing the parties of high net worth individuals in Nigeria, Gbadamosi’s pieces have become reference points for decorations.
“My work has been received really well. The blog has had a lot of international traffic from about 60 different countries worldwide. Most of my blog traffic has been from Nigeria, USA and the U.K. I was particularly over the moon when my work was featured in the newsletter of All Things Paper a popular international paper crafts blog I’ve long admired run by Ann Martin. She featured my bespoke Art Deco in the inspired Thank You cards which were commissioned by a UK based client. She found my work on Instagram and really liked what she saw. It was a real boost of confidence and I’m really grateful for what she did as that really helped raise the profile of my work and blog as my work was viewed by a much wider international audience.”
As earlier mentioned, her pieces were used to decorate the candy cart at Chief Okoya’s 76th Birthday. She was approached by one of the vendors Candy Station NG who had been hired to put up her candy cart at the event. It was a last minute arrangement. Candy Station NG contacted her a few days to the event after seeing the party decorations she made a few weeks prior to her friend’s daughter’s birthday.
“I made bespoke paper fans, toppers and large a Happy 76th to decorate the candy cart with and she used them beautifully. Chief Okoya’s birthday has been the highest profile event where my work has featured. Another is the children’s birthday party I mentioned for which I created masks, centrepieces and some gift boxes. I also created paper sculptures of monuments from around the world as centrepieces for a friend’s wedding in the US which has since become the most popular post on my blog.”
Gbadamosi says she conceives her designs by first thinking of the idea then she thinks of how best to convey the idea. “I tend to think in words and pictures. Sometimes I do a lot of brainstorming with words before I get a picture in my mind, other times the picture comes first before I get the words to describe it. I also do a bit of research online to get inspiration then I do rough sketches till I’m comfortable with trying out the idea.”
In addition, she says she has been promoting her craft online where her pieces have been exposed to millions. “I’ve been using the internet mainly to push the brand, via my blog with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as support. I also ran a giveaway in December also over social media where my followers in Nigeria won 30 prints of my 2016 paper cut calendars. It was very successful and I got a lot of positive and useful feedback from my winners about their prizes. Word of mouth has also helped my brand.
“What stands my brand out is the uniqueness and quality of the designs I create. As an artist utilise my imagination so that what I create is always an original and one of a kind unless of course a client has other ideas whereby I’m willing to work with them to see their ideas come to life.”
Gbadamosi sees Thoughts Paper Scissors evolving and growing into hopefully a full-fledged paper solutions company that can offer bespoke services to solve business and individual’s needs.