A papercut artwork to capture our year of travel

We have been fans of Edinburgh artist, Emily Hogarth, and her wonderful papercut creations for a while. Emily uses a cut out technique to tell personal stories in a captivating and sentimental way. We were thrilled when she contacted us during the European leg of our travel adventure. Emily offered to create a custom papercut to commemorate our year on the road as a family. It was such a generous offer, and Emily is so talented, that we accepted immediately (worried she might change her mind!).

Emily knew our story from our blog and Instagram, and went about recreating it graphically. Over the next few months she sent occasional updates — images of the work in progress that got us all excited. From those sneak peeks we knew her final artwork would be detailed, but we had no idea how detailed!  When it arrived we stared at it for hours, looking at how she interpreted each milestone on our journey, awestruck by her uncanny sense for the places and moments that were most special to us.

We had Emily’s papercut framed and it now sits proudly in our reception room. She sent along a description of her artwork that we wanted to share below. Reading it,  we were struck by the amount of thought, sensitivity and talent that has gone into its creation. What an amazing way to memorialise our year! Thank you Emily–we love it!!!

The artwork has been created in a circular design– representing your travels around the globe. Going anti-clockwise from the top, the artwork follows your travels and has little details from all the places you visited. In the center is a campervan, which represents one of the modes of travel you spent time in while on the road. The camper van has your family name and just under this are 6 little hearts – which represent the 6 of you. Just below the heart’s is a little star – this represents your new baby on the way and the exciting times ahead. As your travels followed the sun – there is a setting sun behind the camper van under a little starry sky. Around the campervan are the names of the countries you visited. I choose the colour blue as I thought it represented your love of the sea and your families new found love of surfing. Finally there is a little ‘eh’ at the bottom of the artwork – this is my signature.

Now for the details around the artwork.

Starting at the top of the design (and working anti-clockwise) we have some cactus and a Joshua Tree (note the ‘J’ of Joshua is the wrong way round – little quirk that sometimes occurs when writting everything back to front!). This represents a beautiful day at the Joshua Tree National Park and your time spent in that area at the beginning of your travels. At the top of the tree is a cowboy hat and to the left are some cowboy boots, musical notes and the words ‘Pappy & Harriet’s’ – where you spent a fun evening listening to country western music. Just under this is a wave with the words ‘Big Sur, CA’ and just above this ‘Pfeiffer beach’ – another memorial stop.

Moving round, we have some more tropical flowers and plants as you entered into Brazil. ‘Casa Lola’ is written under the palm leaves, one of your first stops. Just below this is a little ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue, which over looks Rio – and where you spent a memorable time on a food tour – trying lots of new and exotic fruits with Tom of ‘Eat Rio’. To the left of the statue are some houses representing the city of Rio and just under them the words ‘Casa Zinc’ representing your time there and getting to know its creator Aaron Hojman. Next to this is a circle with ‘Heidi’s’ name within as well as the place ‘Garzon’ – in the center of the circle is a heart as this represents your time spent at Heidi’s house celebrating thanksgiving and being serenaded by El Cuarteto del Amor all evening. To the left of this circle is an ice-cream cone, representing your time in Buenos Aires and enjoying ‘Galado’ with Delfina and Miguel. Just above this is a horse and just under the horse is a ‘Rhea’ egg – this represents your time on ‘Martin’s Ranch’ in Uruguay. Continuing round is a little surfer cresting a wave with ‘Ismael’s’ name and ‘Puertecillo’ written within the waves. Easton’s initials ‘EMA’ are written on this surf board. Under the waves the design turns into clouds and some rain drops, which take us to the New Zealand stretch of your travels.

Between the mountains is a boat with ‘Milford Sounds’ written on it and to the right of this cascading waterfalls flow into the design and represent your boat tour here and the dolphins racing next to you. To the left of the boat are a couple of Hector dolphins which your children swan/surfed next to in Porpoise Bay. There is a surfboard just underneath one of the dolphins with the initials ‘MMA’ – representing little Marlow. This surfboard is just above a large wave with ‘Raglan’ written on it – another spot you enjoying camping and surfing. Underneath the waterfalls is a little campervan on the road and heading towards Rebecca and Ollie Prowie’s house in Napier where you spent time getting to know them and camping in their driveway.

Continuing on we move to Australia. The Sydney Opera house is there and just under it are a couple of boats one with the initials T and S in it’s sails – this represents Simon and Tahnee and your time spent with them and their kids on a boat in Sydney harbor. To the left of the opera house is a wave with ‘Seal Rock’ – another memorial camping spot. To the right of the opera house is another surfboard, this time with Quinn’s initials QAA. Above the opera house in a circle, which represents all the time you spent in Byron Bay and all the friendships and memories you made (and all the new ones you will make there too!). To the right of this circle is the Cape Byron Light. Next is a signpost to ‘Bellingen’ another memorial camping spot and above this are the ‘Blue Mountains’.

Next is Japan and just above the Blue Mountains is a slice of Pizza from the ‘Savoy’ Tokyo. To the right of this is one of the temples and the word ‘Tokyo’ written in Japanese. These are lots of raindrops here and some cherry blossom too. Above the rain clouds is a rainbow – which moves us onto ‘Sri Lanka’.

The rainbow represents your time spent at the ‘Rainbow center’ in Sri Lanka and all the wonderful children and staff you met there. Above the rainbow is a bull elephant – which represents the evening you came across a bull elephant in your path. Next to this is a tuk-tuk with ‘Jaya’ name written on it – representing your time with him on his Tuk-Tuk in the jungle outside Arugam Bay. To the left of the elephant is another wave and another little surfer and this time ‘Ivy” initials are on the surfboard ‘IMA’. The palm tree next to the surfer has ‘Hideaway’ written up the trunk representing your time spent there.

Above the tropical flowers and palms are some English roses and another wave with ‘Cornwall’ written on and the names of your friends ‘Kate and Joel’ and their children ‘Sophie and Louis’ – representing your week spent in Cornwall trying to find waves to surf.

Above this is a boat sailing into ‘Positano’ Italy where you spent a month enjoying the Italian sun and ice cream and catching up with friends from around the world. Next to the boat is a little parasol on the pebble beach under the beautiful buildings that cascade down the cliff side to the sea. To the left of the ice cream is some lavender representing your time spent in Provence, France with Vanessa and Ceki and their family. Their initials are just under ‘Provence’. To the left of the buildings in Positano is a Portuguese cockerel representing your time in Sintra in Marta and Manuels’ beautiful home (their initials are within the cockerel).

Finally back at the top of the design I have included a little bit of London and some more English roses as it is where you started and finished this adventure – before you moved onto the next.

14 thoughts on “A papercut artwork to capture our year of travel

  1. This is, without doubt, the most beautiful gift anyone could ever make or receive. You must be so incredibly touched Courtney. What a souvenir! Yet another reason for me to want to go travelling with my family, so that I could ask for my own personal family handcut on return!!

  2. This is unbelievably beautiful! So fun to follow along with the picture and description side by side in separate windows. I love that little Wilkie made it in, it wouldn’t be complete without him. Such a gem that you will treasure forever — thank you for sharing your journey with us. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    Sending love from NYC.

  3. We’re a family of 5 from Vancouver, Canada and we’re nearing the end our our own year around the world. I love Emily’s work and would like to commission a piece to commemorate our own travels. Can you please tell me what size your print is? I’ve checked out her website and she offers 4 sizes. Yours looks just perfect. Thanks so much.

    • Oh Vancouver! Near my home town. 🙂
      How wonderful that you’ve just travelled with your family!
      Okay, so I just measured, and our piece is 50cm by 50cm. It’s a perfect size!

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