Calling all geeks and bibliophiles, you are not going to want to miss the unique handmade goods featured in our latest Meet the Maker interview!
Meet Ashley Aranda, a nerd, a geek, a Mom and a truly gifted paper artisan. I first met Ashley at last year’s I Made It Holiday Market in Pittsburgh and I bonded with her over Firefly fandom and all her geeky creations. Since then, beyond her beautiful upcycled and geeky typography prints (which are so fabulous!) I am obsessed with her holiday ornaments! They are truly unique and one-of-a-kind and absolutely perfect as a go-to gift for anyone on your list.
Don’t miss Ashley’s unique handmade goods and all of the other talented artisans at this year’s I Made It Holiday Market, Thanksgiving weekend in Pittsburgh (Nov 27-28). Now, read on to find out more about Ashley and how she’s turning forgotten books into her kick-ass creations.
Meet the Maker
How would you describe Papyrusaurus and the items that you create?
I’d say Papyrusaurus is fun and quirky paper crafts with a geeky kick. I make a variety of unique home decor items and gifts from upcycled books and other papers, most with a little injection of my favorite fandoms: Doctor Who, Supernatural, Firefly, and various others.
How did you get started working with upcycled books?
It honestly started because I didn’t want to waste good paper. I was tinkering with making paper ornaments, but didn’t want to ruin expensive scrapbook paper on a trial run. I’d had an old dictionary sitting on my book shelf forever, and since it was falling apart at the seams, I decided I’d use pages from it for practice. But then it looked so nice I just kind of stuck with it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Obviously, since a lot of my stuff is fandom-based I get inspiration from watching a lot (read: too much) TV. I also get help from my kids and my husband, who are all completely hilarious. They’ve been great help with some of the funny, snarky relationship prints and cards.
Ok, I have to ask, where does the name Papyrusauraus come from? 🙂
When I first started I operated under a truly terrible, clunky name that shall never be uttered again (it was really THAT bad.) I knew I had to rename the shop once I started getting more attention my second year around. I wish there was some really cool process that happened, or hilarious story. But it just sort of popped into my head one day while my kids were watching Dinosaur Train (the Dinosaur ABC episode. For the 9 millionth time.) I’ve always loved dinosaurs and I work with paper. Ta-da!
Do you have any favorite pieces?
Right now I’m absolutely in love with the Where the Wild Things Are ornaments. I had a copy on my cutting board and my (genius) husband suggested adding Max’s crown to them. So I made one up and as soon as the crown went on the top, I burst into happy tears. It’s always been a favorite book of mine and these little ornaments capture it perfectly.
I am so obsessed with your pine cone ornaments! Is there a history behind them or a specific heritage to them?
I don’t know if they have any specific heritage, though the porcupine ornaments I make are Polish, so I suppose they could have similar roots. I’ve always seen them made with folded fabric or ribbon. I adapted it through trial and (lots of) error for paper. It took awhile to get them to be consistent, especially my signature star on the bottom and how I finish the tops. But now I’ve made so many of them, I can nearly do them in my sleep. I try to stay as stocked as possible for the holiday markets, but I know we’ll be running low very quickly. All pine cones purchased online are made-to-order, so they’re always available.
Do you have a gifting tip or a gift wrapping hack to share with my readers?
We love making gift wrap here! I get a big, cheap roll of brown craft paper and let the kids go crazy on it with stamps and markers and paint and stencils. It always goes over well with the grandparents. They can even save the wrap and frame it as a holiday memento.
Where can we buy your pieces?
You can find Papyrusaurus creations in my Etsy shop.
papyrusaurus.com will also take you to my Etsy shop (my plan of having a free-standing site before the holidays was thwarted by wedding planning!)
We’re also at Boutique 208 in Pittsburgh.
What’s a little fun fact about you? 😉
I’ve had the same best friends since age 4. Even though we’re spread out all over the country now, we all obsessively watch the same shows and then scream text each other about them the following day. (This was the inspiration behind the “I love developing irrational attachments to fictional characters with you.” print)