Today on the podcast we are visited by a maker of extraordinary paper sculptures.

Zack started making his paper and wood birds after experimenting with his own Children’s book in which a little boy makes a bird lantern out of old book pages and willow sticks.

Each bird takes anything from 30 – 120 hours to create, and Zack takes great pleasure in creating each bird as realistically as he can, from the first drawings to the last stroke of paint every little feather is lovingly crafted.

In this episode we discuss how he got started making such detailed, time-consuming peices; how he constructs his birds; how he maintains some work-life balance when his work is so time-intensive; and how getting comfortable with Instagram helped to grow his business substantially.

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • Zack started as an illustrator working on children’s books.
  • As he was writing his own book he created a 3D bird for one of the characters in the books and enjoyed the process.
  • Zack now work full time creating these intricate pieces which are all commissioned.
  • “They are all commission which is kind of a good problem but at the same time I would really like to work on my own stuff. It’s just finding the time and putting that time aside. It costs you money obviously so it’s a big one to weigh up” {Zack}
  • Jess and Zack discuss the important of finding space for being creative and the challenges of doing this. 
  • “It’s very hard to figure out sometimes. It comes with time. Of valuing yourself more and charging more for what you do to allow yourself time outside of those commissions” {Zack}
  • Zack also facilitates workshops where students learn how to make paper, wire and wood birds and butterflies.
  • Zack’s process starts with a lot of research as he builds his birds from the inside out.
  • Due to the unpredictable nature of large-scale projects, such as a window display, Zack’s schedule is often juggled around. 
  • “Saying no is very hard but it is very empowering when you do. I think when you’ve actually done it, it’s surprising how much that client will still come back because there is a fear of losing out. That they’ll never come back. But they do, they just realise you’re busy and actually give you a bit more respect and time in whatever you do” {Zack}
  • Work life balance is essential—make time to invest in your own wellbeing and connect with those people who are important to you. Jess and Zack both find time in the morning to carve away time for themselves before the day gets going.
  • It took a while for Zack to feel comfortable sharing his work on Instagram as it felt very personal and like showing off. He now views Instagram as an avenue to build business that provides ways for people to engage with his work.
  • Showing progress and process shots and videos is a great way to involve your audience in the process and build a rapport.

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