Small Wonders: Visiting Artist John B. McRae

Two Hands Paperie is excited to host two events this September with visiting artist John B. McRae. John imagines himself as an eighteenth century toy maker with a little shop in France, crafting paper toys and constructing small wonders that turn, move, nod, bobble, or change magically into something else. He loves to scour flea markets, strange little stores, and yard sales for unusual vintage items for both inspiration and to include in his own creations. Who knew that vintage millinery flora would be perfect for the underwater scene surrounding his Mermaid’s Castle? Who knew that a vintage Chinese firecracker could be transformed into a collapsing Pagoda Box? Or that a three-dimensional sailing ship, made of cardboard, crepe paper, and Dresden paper trim, is actually a box with a cleverly hidden compartment?

John B. McRae's Submarine Book Scupture

John B. McRae’s Submarine Book Scupture

John traces his fascination with vintage items and old world crafts to an abandoned box left behind in a storage shed on his parents’ property. It was full of antique toys and unusual Christmas ornaments, which were made from cotton batting, decorative papers, printed images, bits of crepe paper, and Dresden, a paper trim created by pressing wood pulp into hand carved molds and painting the resulting relief gold or silver. Though he now works with a variety of media, he still favors vintage paper and Dresden paper trim imported from Germany.

He also loves holidays, all kinds. For five years John owned a popular store in San Francisco, called “Every Day’s a Holiday”. The store featured an old penny candy counter and a 100-year old cash register. He sold vintage and handmade items for just about every holiday, changing the miniature scenes in the window displays to match.

John now teaches a variety of classes at Castle in the Air in Berkeley, California, where he continues creating magical little worlds to decorate the windows and display the merchandise. The Mouse Castle is just one of many intricate and and whimsical wonderlands John has created.

Two Hands Paperie is fortunate enough to host John McRae this September for a variety of events. Celebrate the magic of handmade with John in our Visiting Artist Series on September 13th. Drop in anytime between 2:00-5:00pm and visit with John as he showcases his artwork and discusses his methods, inspiration, and where he is headed next.

McRae's Polish Pajaki

McRae’s Polish Pajaki

We are thrilled to offer two unique classes with John this September in addition the Visiting Artist Series. Create a colorful Polish Pajaki (also known as a Paper Chandelier) on Sunday, September 15th from 11:00-5:00pm or take a Faux Dagerreotype class on Saturday, September 14th from 10:30-4:30pm. Reserve your seat today. For questions regarding these classes and others, please contact Two Hands Paperie at 303.444.0124.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project or looking to create a Pajaki of your own, check out our Pinterest Board and follow us on Facebook where you will find featured projects, tips, stories, and much more. Check out all the latest happenings this fall and sign up for the Two Hands Newspaperie.