Layla May Arthur’s Intricate Paper Sculptures

WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Layla May Arthur


Netherlands-based paper artist and set designer Layla May Arthur uses her love of storytelling to inspire her intricate and whimsical dioramas.

Using the combination of light and shadow armed with paper and a sharp scalpel, Layla’s three-dimensional scenes create moody and romantic settings from small-scale works and larger immersive installations where people can interact with the creations and act as characters within the paper landscapes.

Her background in set design helped Layla build scenarios and moments that feel both real and dreamlike simultaneously. 

Layla May Arthur

Each incision is carefully thought out, for the best angle and pattern to play with the light used in the artwork. “I love being able to create an artistic experience which is part of every day and highlights the possibilities of craftsmanship,” she says.

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The art of storytelling is as prominent in the works as the physical piece itself. “Within my installation I act as the storyteller, sculpting the environment with hand-cut paper and light,” she elaborates on her website. I” invite you to become the listener within my storytelling experience. A listener interprets a tale based on the stories they already know. I encourage you to re-invent my narratives, finding connections with tales familiar to you and merging your stories with mine.”

Watch Layla’s creative process on her Instagram page, here.


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