Buffalo Paper Artist Janna Willoughby-Lohr

Buffalo NY Paper ArtistWhat is your name?
Janna Willoughby-Lohr

What is the name of your business?
Papercraft Miracles

Where can customers follow your work?
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

How did you end up in Buffalo?
I am a life-long Buffalonian.

How did you become a ShopCraft member?
I knew Christa from doing craft shows around town and when I saw all the beautiful shop pictures on Instagram, I decided to track down Christa and get in on the fun too.

 In what way(s) is your work and/or lifestyle environmentally friendly?
Almost all of my products incorporate recycled materials, plants, seeds or up-cycled items. Many of my products are plantable as well. My studio and my home are 100% solar powered and I use reclaimed water and plants from my garden in my work whenever possible.

Describe your creative process in as much detail as possible:
When it’s just me making art for fun, I tend to get a basic overall structural idea for a book or a paper sculpture and then go from there. Once I have a basic idea, I think about how the book’s structure lends to the subject I want to address. Then I make modifications to the structure to incorporate the subject. I love when the form, the design, the materials, the text, and illustrations all work together to create one deeper idea or concept. I typically will make drawings and scrap paper dummy models for artist’s books before I begin actual construction of the project. Then I cut all the pieces, cover the covers, stitch the books and then add the interior parts (text, illustrations, etc.).

For handmade paper experiments, I think more about the materials that I’d like to include in the paper and what I want to do with it before I start to make the batch. Once I know what I want to include and have an idea of what I want it to look like, I start making pulp. Once the pulp is made, I start adding things until I think it looks just right and then I start pulling sheets. For some sculptural projects, once the wet sheets are formed and couched off the screen, I press them lightly, lift them up and drape them over moulds and press again. 

For seed bombs and other moulded pulp, I seek out the moulds I want to use first, then select the seeds and pulp and I typically will make a gigantic batch of hundreds of seed bombs at once and then dry them all on screens in front of a fan.

Sometimes I just sit in a pile of scraps and start folding and gluing until something cool happens. Other times, I write a poem and then build a book or paper sculpture to embody it.

What does it mean to you to be a member of an artist collective like ShopCraft?
I love to have my work amongst so many other great local artisans. I think it is important for the community to work together to support the arts and ShopCraft does just that. I love the eco-friendly aspect of ShopCraft’s mission, as that is something I strive to bring to the forefront of my art.

How do you order your wings?
Plain with hot sauce and blue cheese on the side. Soggy wings are gross.

What is the most meaningful thing a customer/client has said to you about your work?
Oh man…I had a customer who bought one of my star books with an anniversary poem in it once. There was a husband and wife who were looking at it together and they both thought it was really cool. Then later during the sale, the husband snuck back over and bought it as a surprise! At the next show I did, I saw them again and they came up and told me about how the the husband had given the book to his wife on their 30th anniversary trip to see their family in California. They told me that they had showed the book to everyone they came across through their whole trip!! It was so special for all of us. They bought one of my washable fabric baby books for their first grandchild.

If you could share a piece of advice with people who think they are ‘not creative’, or don’t think their art is ‘good enough’, what would it be?
If making art makes you happy it doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks it’s good. You should do it anyway. If your goal is to make a living with art, you have to practice, practice, practice, and try to be ok with failure. You have to be your own biggest fan.

What about Buffalo inspires you?
The people. There is always someone helping someone else…whether it’s digging a car out of a snowbank or sharing an idea. The people totally make this city what it is.

What is your super power?
I am a beast on the microphone. F’reals.

What is your favorite charitable organization?
Black Lives Matter

Tell us a joke:
What’s red and bad for your teeth? A brick.

What is your most prized possession?
A necklace from my mom.

Anything else you’d like to share with the world?
Having kids is awesome…but it makes working really, really hard.

 Artist’s Products

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