I've always had a fascination for intricate and detailed things ever since I was a child, whether it was the delicate inner whorls of a shell or an awe-inspiring piece of filigree jewelry or an incredible miniature piece of art.

So it was no surprise that when I stumbled upon Wai’s work, it took my breath away. We met by happy accident on a crowded Sydney train (train delays as usual, and packed like a tin of unhappy sardines wallowing in the misery of a long day of mind-numbing work only to be followed by an uncomfortable commute squeezed up against strangers with questionable BO. Can you tell I’m bitter about the train network?). Trying to place my eyes somewhere in the crowded train without accidentally making awkward eye contact, I fixated on the pole in front of me and the hands that were grasping it for balance when I noticed one with a leather watch.

Leather watches are commonplace, but the thing that grabbed my attention was: 1) Studio Ghibli (I admit I am a huge fan, having had the blessing to be brought upon it by parents who adored old-school Japanese films and animations) 2) that it had intricate details in what appeared to be paper.

Not one to lose an opportunity (and being the social elephant stampeding into people’s comfort zones that I was), I followed the hand to the girl attached to it and immediately commented on how uniquely beautiful it was before asking where she had bought it from.

Obviously startled by this strange 30 (actually older, but what you don’t know won’t hurt you) year-old businesswoman firing questions at her out of nowhere but obviously too polite to tell me to sod off, she smiled shyly before giving me an answer that completely threw me for a loop and eventually led to me following (stalking, cough) her on social media from then on.

‘Thank you so much, you’re too kind! I made it.’

Wait, what? I’d seen papercutting before; intricate, breath-taking pieces from the likes of incredible paper artists like Akita Nagoya, Hina Aoyama, Bovey Lee, Elsa Mora, Karen Bit Vejle, and Rob Ryan. Papercutting artworks that were divinely elegant and mind-boggling detailed, which never failed to draw a gasp of amazement from me when I saw them.

I have, however, never seen anything quite like Wai’s pieces. They aren’t traditionally clean and elegant in the way of well-known paper cutters, but instead exquisitely tiny and adorable whilst fun and vibrant.

Not only that, but they aren’t just pieces of art to be framed on walls and merely admired. Looking through Wai’s gallery for the first time especially was a real treat as it challenged my preconceptions of papercutting as being too ‘delicate and fragile to touch and show off.’ I love showing off art or prints that I buy from artists just as much as anybody else, but it’s tough to show off a 32x20 inch artwork to your colleagues when you can’t bring the entire frame in and photos don’t do justice most of the time.

Wai’s work instead changes this perception by turning her papercut art into beautifully small pieces of jewelry and accessories such as bags, purses, keychains, pendants, and more recently watches. She’s even made an adorable ‘Meet the Artist’ piece making use of an old DS case!

(Wai is currently participating in Cutober, a version of Inktober that she has been doing for the past five years with a different theme each year. This year her theme is 'Watches', so take a look as it won’t disappoint!)

Her inspiration comes from pop culture, anime, and games, as well as from (her favorite and incidentally one of mine too) Studio Ghibli. However, she also has her own beloved characters such as Astrocat or Cerberuscorgi, both of which are stinking adorable.

In her own words, Wai’s goal is for ‘people to be able to smile and feel happier when seeing [her] art.’ She hopes that by making her art portable, it can accompany people on their journeys throughout the day and help make things less stressful just like how papercutting calms her own anxieties.

Here are my favorite pieces of Wai’s

More info: Instagram

#1

#1. Totoro Watch

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SirPatTheCat 1 month ago

Oh my gosh I would love to have that! It’s so cute!

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#2

#7.

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Lucia Nichols 1 month ago

aw <3

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#3

#12. No Face From Spirited Away

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SirPatTheCat 1 month ago

“After no-face calmed down with his food obsessed crusade of rage and hunger, he took up knitting”

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#4

#10.

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Lucia Nichols 1 month ago

OMG, these are so beautiful <3 O.O

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#5

#11. Link From Legend Of Zelda

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bLaCk WiDoW 1 month ago

Omg that pig killed me killed me so many times 😑

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#6

#6. Totoro Wooden Clutch

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bLaCk WiDoW 1 month ago

TOTOROOOOOOOO 😍😍😍

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#7

Smol Astrocat Searching In Space For Who Knows What. Adventure? Fish? A Mysterious Cat Planet? (* ॑꒳ ॑* )?? #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #paperart #cutoodle #astrocat #cat #galaxy

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Elisaurous uwu 1 month ago

is pusheen??

#8

#5. Cerberus In Corgi Form

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Virgil Blue 1 month ago

Corgberus guarding the gate to heck. Lovely.

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#9

Two Of My Favourite Cats (=^・ω・^=) Starting To Slowly Churn Things Out For Smashcon! (Emphasis On Slowly Aaaaaa ;__;) #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #paperart #kirie #sailormoon #artemis #luna #constellation #moon

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Lucia Nichols 1 month ago

the right one looks like luna from sailor moon XD

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#10

My Finished Piece For The Sailor Scouts In Love Show Being Hosted At @honeyandbutter By The Wonderful @kitandkatdesigns 😍🙏 Thank You So Much For The Amazing Opportunity! 🐰💖 #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #paperart #kitandkatdesigns #honeyandbutter #sailorscoutsinlove #sailormoon #usagi

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Megan O'keefe 1 month ago

Beautiful

#11

2/31 The Little Glutton Of The Family Σ( ´д `〣; ), Rarely Uses Her Wings Because She Is A Tad Too Chubby (Heavy) To Fly. She Likes Hiding Bits Of Food In Secret Hidey-Holes And Cracks So She Can Nibble On Them When She's Hungry (Which Is Pretty Much Always (*´艸`*);;;) Some Of You May Recognize This Dragonlet! I'll Also Be Remaking Her Blue And Green Siblings For Cutober So I Can Make Some Tweaks To Colours And Small Details To Add To Their Stories Later (*,,òㅅó,,)و
#cutober #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #papercuttingart #cutoodle #dragonlet #dragon

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bLaCk WiDoW 1 month ago

How does she MAKE this??!! SO talented

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#12

Totoro Dressing Up For The Occasion With A Little Witchy Hat! 👒🍀 #halloween #cutober #ghibliween #papercut #cutpaper #papercutting #cutoodle #ghibli #studioghibli #totoro

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bLaCk WiDoW 1 month ago

WHERE CAN I GET THIS

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#13

#13.

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Kaleidoscope The Fox 1 month ago

OMG this is probably my favorite, i LOVE it!

#14

#14.

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Loki’s Lil Butter Knife 1 month ago

Very beautiful. I'm not familiar with the anime, but I love the contrasting colours and the steampunk feel!

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#15

My Finished Spooky Little Piece For The 'A Very Ghibli Halloween' Show Organised By The Wonderful @kitandkatdesigns And Hosted By Lovely @t_to_tea 🎃 The Show Will Run Until 3/11 And Is Full Of Incredible Artists And Ghibli Goodness, So Drop By If You're In The Area! 🐱💕 #halloween #cutober #ghibliween #papercut #cutpaper #papercutting #cutoodle #ghibli #studioghibli #jiji #totoro #sootballs #kodama #catbus #noface #kitandkatdesigns

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Thunder 1 month ago

Weird, scary cat from Alice in Wonderland, is that you?

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#16

Happy New Year!! 🎉😆💖 I Didn't Get To Finish This Piece In Time For 2018, But I Still Managed To Get Some Good Progress Into It! 😶🐰 #sailormoon #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #usagi #paperart #mahoushoujo #handcut #lgenpaper #strictlypaperart #papercuttingart #papercraft #kirie #wip

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Loki’s Lil Butter Knife 1 month ago

Awesome! I'm getting some very "Art nouveau" vibes from this piece. The hair reminds me of woodblock prints as well.

#17

Persona5 Anniversary Show Is On This Saturday April 14th At @honeyandbutter, Curated By The Wonderful @kitandkatdesigns In Collaboration With @atlususa ! \(๑•̀ω•́๑)/
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it's A One-Day Pop-Up Gallery Only, So Drop By To Pick Up Adorable Persona5-Themed Macarons And Check Out The Amazing Art Being Showcased! ヾ(≧∪≦*)ノ
.
#wip #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #paperart #persona5 #persona5anniversary #atlusgames #kitandkatdesigns #honeyandbutter #atlus #arsene

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sylvanticx 1 month ago

Reminds me of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell for some reason. Looks like Baz.

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#18

Totoro Party!!! ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。 No Such Thing As Too Many Stars Muahaha (๑•̀ ͜>•́)✧ #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #cutpaper #totoro #catbus #ghibli #studioghibli #paperart

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Rhon 1 month ago

I want to ride in the cat bus!

#19

And Finished!! ꉂꉂ(ᵔᗜᵔ*) This Was Super Fiddly For Me Initially Since I'd Never Had To Cut Such Small Letters Out Before - I Almost Gave Up A Few Times, But I'm Super Happy That I Didn't And With How It Turned Out! (๑•̀ ͜>•́)✧ #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #wip # Cutpaper #papercuttingart #kirie #ghibli #studioghibli #miyazaki #hayaomiyazaki #calcifer #sootballs #totoro #spiritedaway #howlsmovingcastle #cutober #commission

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Thunder 1 month ago

Nice

#20

My Favorite Ghibli Couple Aaaaaa (*๓´╰╯`๓)♡

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Rhon 1 month ago

Sweet

#21

#2. Her Astrocat, And Can You Believe That It Spins Around In Orbit Too

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Thunder 1 month ago

I love this one to the moon and back!

#22

#3. Meeting The Artist With An Rpg Twist

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Thunder 1 month ago

THIS ONE IS SOOOO PERFECT

#23

More Wing Pics Yay!! ‹‹\(*´ω`* )/›› Sorry For The Spam, I'm Kind Of Really Proud Of How They Turned Out Even Though They're Not Quite Anatomically Correct Aaaaaaa - I Tried To Make Paper Wings Years Ago But Gave Up After Half A Wing So This Time It Was A Huge Test Of Patience (And Sheer Willpower) For Me Haha (٥≧∇≦) #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #paperart #persona5 #persona5anniversary #atlusgames #kitandkatdesigns #honeyandbutter #atlus #arsene

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KCN 1 month ago

0.o

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#24

Same, Calcifer, Same. (╯°□°)╯#calcifer #studioghibli #ghibli #howlsmovingcastle

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sylvanticx 1 month ago

ME NEITHER

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#25

Aaaand A Halloween Ghibli Party Wouldn't Be Complete Without This Guy! ☆٩(。•ω

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#26

A Smol Cheerful Noface (That Will Be Made Into A Collar Pin Set!) I'm Honestly A Little Terrified I Won't Have Much Merch For The #smashcon Weekend Aaaaaaa (。ŏ_ŏ)〣 I Am The World's Slowest Painter ヾ(*・ω・)ノ゙#noface #studioghibli #ghibli #spiritedaway

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Rhon 1 month ago

I love these Noface knitting pics

#27

#8.

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sylvanticx 1 month ago

Artemis is so well made (drawn? sculpted?)!

#28

#15.

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The beautiful flower (bfdi) 1 month ago

aw so cute, I love Tsuyu

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#29

#16.

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#30

Haku And His L'il Chicken Legs ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #paperart #ghibli #kitandkatdesigns #studioghibli #spiritedaway #haku

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#31

So The Downside Is That The Paper Has Too Many Layers And Sometimes The Watch Hands Stick At Certain Times So It's Not 100% There Yet ( •̥́﹏•̀ू ) But It's Also Been Heaps Of Fun Experimenting And I Think I'm Getting Kinda Close! (✧• ̀ω•́)و #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #paperart #moonbun

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#32

If Australia Post Used Moogles To Deliver Parcels And Letters, Efficiency Would Probably Increase Exponentially ヽ(•̀ω•́ )ゝ✧
part Of My Art Trade With @dianemcamis! ❤ #moogle #eorzea #postman #finalfantasy #papercut #papercutting #cutoodle #cutpaper #kirie #paperart

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EpicFangirl 1 month ago

reminds me of the final fantasy mmo

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#33

Zz(´-Ω-`*)... #papercutting #papercut #paperart #cutoodle #cutpaper #wip #throwback #madokamagica #madoka #homura #kyubey #soulgem #griefseed

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#34

(*´罒`*)ノ🍃☂️ #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #ghibli #totoro #studioghibli

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Rhon 1 month ago

Totoro

#35

Smol Beans, And Sootballs That Need Better Eyes _(´δ`」 ∠) I Wish I Had Time To Paint More Than Just Flat Colours Aaaaaa #totoro #sootballs #spiritedaway #studioghibli #ghibli #smashcon #handpainted

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#36

Friends 👼🐔🐥🐥🐥 #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #link #paperart #mycameraisapotato

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Thunder 1 month ago

Zeldah

#37

The Face Of Evilll /人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人 \ #papercutting #papercut #paperart #cutoodle #cutpaper #wip #throwback #madokamagica #madoka #homura #kyubey #soulgem

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#38

One Out Of Three Completed! (~´˘`)~ #halloween #cutober #ghibliween #papercut #cutpaper #papercutting #cutoodle #ghibli #studioghibli #sootball

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#39

It's Decided!! *drumrolls* This Year's Cutober Theme Will Be Smol Dragons, Hurrah! ヽ(•̀ω•́ )ゝ(I'll Be Filing Away Floral Skeletons And Magical Girls For Something Special In November And December ☆٩(。•ω

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Theory Buchannon 1 month ago

so cute

#40

Smol 🐯 #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #sakura #cardcaptorsakura #kero #cerberus

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Kaleidoscope The Fox 1 month ago (edited)

Whoa! How is the tail not super flimsy? Also, this has to be my favorite

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#41

Aaaaaaaa It's Happening!! Swing By @honeyandbutter At Irvine Spectrum Later Today For 🌸🌸hanami: An Art Show Celebrating The World Of Clamp!🌸🌸 Curated By The Lovely @kitandkatdesigns!
opening Night Is Tonight Starting At 6pm And It'll Run Until May 27th, So Drop By For Adorable Clamp-Themed Macarons, Gorgeous Art, And Print Giveaways As Well!
#kitandkatdesigns #honeyandbutter #hanami #clamptributeshow #clamp #xxxholic #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #wip #paperart #yuuko #watanuki #mycameraisapotato

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#42

These Two Mini Frames Will Be Part Of The Raffle For The 'A Very Ghibli Halloween' Show Organised By The Wonderful @kitandkatdesigns And Hosted By @t_to_tea 🐱💕
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🎃 Show Opening Night Is This Saturday At 6pm, And Will Run Until 3/11! .
🦇 There Will Be A Mini Artist Alley Featuring The Incredibly Talented @letealeaf And @shihopate On The Opening Night , As Well As Adorable Themed Drinks And Raffles For Those Who Come In Dressed For The Occasion!! #halloween #cutober #ghibliween #papercut #cutpaper #papercutting #cutoodle #ghibli #studioghibli #sootball #kodama #averyghiblihalloween

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#43

Smol Chubby Moon Bunssss (〃❛ ʜ ❛〃) #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #paperart

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#44

/人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人 \✧ #papercutting #papercut #cutoodle #cutpaper #paperart #kirie #madokamagica #kyubey #madoka #wip

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#45

With A New Background, Plus Some Extra Details! 🎉#papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #sakura #cardcaptorsakura #kero

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MADELEINE KIMBALL 1 month ago

is this... STAR VS THE FORCES OF EVIL!!!?!?!? *correct me if I'm wrong but OMG STAR

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#46

It's A Little Squishy Trying To Fit Everything Neatly?? Now I'm Just Worried It Won't Fit The Watch Frame Properly \(;´□`)/ I Forgot To Take Into Account The Thickness Of The Layers Whoops, But Time Will Tell ( ಥ Д ಥ)՞՞ #papercut #cutpaper #papercutting #cutoodle #paperart #ghibli #totoro #watch

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#47

Aaaaaaa Applied For Smash This Year, So Fingers Crossed I Get Accepted!! ( ง • ̀ω•́ )ง ✧ Also Feeling In A Sailor-Moony Mood So Little Paper Sailor Suits Might Be Popping Up Soon! 🌙🌟 #smashcon #sailormoon #paper #papercutting #cutoodle

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Thunder 1 month ago

Sailor Moon

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#48

5/31 - No Surprise That The Shyest Dragonlet Is Also The Sweetest Aaaaaa (。•́︿•̀。) He Also Likes Protecting Small Flowers From The Sun On Super Hot Days ヽ(;▽;)ノ
#cutober #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #papercuttingart #cutoodle #dragonlet #dragon

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#49

Aaaaand We're Done!! ٩(๑•̀ω•́๑)و Black Lady Is Definitely One Of My Favourite Pieces So Far, I Love How Elegant And Gorgeous Her Design Is And Was Absolutely Delighted When She Was Requested! (ฅ•ω•ฅ)♡ #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #cutoodle #paperart #sailormoon #chibiusa #blacklady #lunap #dianemcamis #artrade

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#50

Mini Me On A Quest To Who Knows Where╭( ●¯^¯●)╮ #papercutting #papercut #cutpaper #papercraft #rpg #meettheartist #ds #cutoodle

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