Greening The Grey: The Inspiration Behind Sarah Manton's August 2023 Cover

Photos: Tom Griffiths
Tuesday 01 August 2023
reading time: min, words

A dip into the world of this month’s cover artist Sarah Manton...

Sarah Manton For OS Profile (By Thomas Griffiths)

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a designer/maker based in Sneinton Market Avenues, where I have a studio with my husband, Terry. I specialise in papercut artworks, but also teach all sorts of paper and textile crafts and get involved in a myriad of event dressing activities. We also have our Curious shop next door, filled with carefully curated, unusual ephemera and artworks, which we run with our excellent friends, Nick and Mimi.

What was the inspiration behind the cover?
Greening the grey! I am a proud urban greener – we have introduced lots of greenery into the Sneinton Market Avenues, including some edible bits and bobs and loads of flowers to help out the bees. Being part of the Green Hustle Festival in June connected me with even more fabulous folks who are doing wonderful work to add plants, flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables to Nottingham’s streets! It fills me with hope and joy to live in a beautiful garden city with aspirations to become even more green.

The green papercut on the purple background is a subtle nod to the Suffragette origins of the Women’s Institute and my sisters in Nottingham City WI! Together, we volunteer to look after Barker Gate Rest Garden, one of the smallest parks in the city and take part in volunteer tree planting whenever I can around the city – it soothes my soul.

How does it compare with some other projects you’ve worked on?
It was an absolute joy to work on this piece! To combine my passion for greening with the cathartic and meditative process of cutting paper by hand with a scalpel was my idea of heaven!

What was the biggest challenge you faced creating the piece?
Getting a numb finger from pressing down with the scalpel – it goes with the territory!

Tell us about some projects you’ve worked on in the past!
One of my most nerve-wracking commissions was to create a papercut card for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday on behalf of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, so a gift for the actual Queen from the queens of craft – no pressure!

Curious Shop (June 2023)

What have you got planned for the future?
I’m a Trustee of Nottingham Open Spaces Forum, which draws together all of the volunteer gardening groups in the city, and in partnership with Stencil Creative Agency we’ve designed an electronic Green Map of Nottingham to plot all of our beloved parks and open spaces (and all of the green spaces in between) and encourage folks to get involved – watch this space! Robin Hood (Ezekial Bone) and I also have a 100 year plan called Sherwood People’s Forest to re-connect Nottingham city centre with Sherwood Forest by planting a spiral of trees from the Castle, around the city and out into the county!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the LeftLion readers?
Support your local independent businesses, just like LeftLion does! Buy from them, even if it’s just something small – you’ll be contributing to the local economy and helping that small business owner to keep living their dream! And enjoy green Nottingham!


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