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Into the Dark Woods invites you on an enchanting journey through fairy tale. Lavishly illustrated, paper-cutting book for all ages.
242 backers pledged £46,036 to help bring this project to life.

About

Into the Dark Woods: An Illustrated Art Book by Su Blackwell project video thumbnail
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£46,036

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Join me on a paper-sculpting revolution, as I welcome you to my first 'kickstarter' campaign. I'm 'Su Blackwell', an artist known for making delicate paper sculptures from pages of old books. I've been making and exhibiting book sculpture for a long time. I'm now bringing my passion of writing, illustrating and designing together to create an autobiographical, paper-cutting, anthology of fairy tales. 'Into the Dark Woods' will be an illustrated activity book, aimed at adults and children.       

At the heart of my campaign, there are three main elements:

: Fairy tales with a strong female character

: The process of making and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in paper sculpture 

: Beautiful inspiring artworks

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This will be a fairy-tale book with a difference, it's like nothing you'll likely to have seen before. It is a book, but it's more than that, it's an oracle, a prophecy, a way of life, a journey, and the best thing of all, is that it isn't even written yet.   

Who is the book for? 

For those with spirit and hope who Nurture and support, Believe in fairies and magic, Run after wishes on the wind, and Put their hearts and souls into life. 

For children, yes, but also for adults, for adults who remember what it is to be a child. If you have an appreciation of art, craft and stories, then this book will appeal to you. It is going to be a special book, and owning (or even borrowing a copy) will make you feel special too. If you recognise the dizzy, excitable feeling of holding a new book, precious, unopened, full of wonder and delight, then this book will be for you.  

What is the book about? 

At this stage, it's hard to tell you precisely, but I have a premise. In it, you will be taught unique paper-sculpting skills, or if you already possess these skills, then shared secrets. In it, you will take a journey with me, to places yet unknown. It is going to be our story!

For this is a special book, and warrants a special way of making it happen. 

Which brings me to ask, why crowd funding? 

The reason is because I want full artistic license on the production and the creation. This is the reason I have decided to take the path of the crowdfunding route.  

Have you tried taking this concept to a publishing house? 

Yes, I did discuss it with Thames and Hudson, who published two of my previous books. The editors were very interested in the idea. In the meeting room, there was a buzz, and ripples of excitement bounced around the room, as colleagues came in to eagerly join our discussion. The editors wanted to me change the book to suit a younger target audience, and so I've decided to try to publish the book independently, but I can only achieve this with your help!

Have you considered the practicalities of creating a book such as this? 

Yes, I expect to be working on the book for approx. 18 months full time, which is why I have priced my goal accordingly. If I reach my goal, this will enable me to have 1,000 copies of the book printed. If I sell all 1,000 copies, the book will pay for itself to be re-printed a second time.

I endeavor to find the best printers to print on the highest quality paper available. With blinding binding to boot, beautiful decorative cover, coloured endpapers, ribbon marker. There will be no expenses spared in making this a rich and sumptuous volume.

Detail
Detail

I'm interested in your idea, but if I'm going to make a pledge, I want to know more about it. Can you explain? 

You'll re-discover ancient fairy tales, and interact with them in a way that you never have before.  

This book is going to be story book, activity book, picture book, and gift book. It is a book greater than the sum of its parts.   

It begins with Susan, a girl from a grim northern town, her father was cruel, her mother was meek. Growing up, Susan never felt that she belonged to her family, she was convinced she was different, she associated as the black sheep, and thought that no one understood her. The trees and the birds in the sky were her friends. Little Susan longed for the day when she could leave home, and on more than one occasion, attempted to run away from her parent's nest, to live in nearby woods. It was never to be, for reality drew her back home each time. Susan learned to read, and discovered books, and was able to retreat into her own imaginary world, where fairy tales were her salvation. One day, Susan took a pair of scissors from her mother's kitchen drawer, and cut into the pages of her beloved fairy tale books, cutting out characters, so that they literally stepped out of the page. They in turn, took Susan back into the books with them, into a world of paper, words, text and ink. 

What began as as a journey through a flat two-dimensional world, began to take on a three dimensional quality. Susan began to make paper effigies that would assist her on her journey.  

Here, in the pages of this book is what Susan has learned, and here she will share her skills to enable you to make paper effigies to assist you on your personal journey.   

Example of book sculpture, with lights
Example of book sculpture, with lights

I feel this book is so needed today and the particular tales I have chosen have a great healing quality as well as their negative value. 

The collection of Fairy Tales included in the book and the effigies associated with them are: 

: Blue Beard (a paper key) 

: Aschenputtel (a paper bird)

: Baba Yaga (a paper doll)

: The Red Shoes (a pair of paper shoes) 

: Beauty and the Beast (a paper rose) 

: Donkeyskin (a paper diamond ring)

: The Six Swans (a paper shirt)  

Using perforated templates printed in the book, you will be guided to cut out and make, following simple step-by-step instructions. All that will be required will be glue, some patience, and a willingness to learn. 

Photographs illustrating the story will be printed on luxurious paper, the cut-out templates I design will be printed on 140gsm wood free board. 

With optional tear-out pages, you will be able use the templates time and time again, just cut out and keep them.

There will be tips on how to construct each effigy, alongside clear, concise photographs. 

Included in the back of the book, in the summary and index will be a list of tools, materials and information required for further exploration. 

What will the funds cover?

They will cover my time and my materials in creating the art-work, they will cover the cost of hiring a photographer to take photographs of the artwork. They will pay for the design, editing and printing of the books. They will pay for a book launch and exhibition to celebrate. They will pay for the creation of an online gallery where you will be able to share your own creations and tell your own stories 

What are your rewards? 

There are fantastic rewards are available for anyone wishing to make a pledge. 

For anyone who pledges £50 or over, you will receive an invitation to the exhibition book launch. Part of my journey will be to find an appropriate venue for this.    

Below are some examples of the types of rewards I am offering, ranging from special edition postcards and prints to original paper sculptures displayed in glass cases.  

Example of a book sculpture, with lights.
Example of a book sculpture, with lights.
An original book sculpture in display case, with lights. Size approx: 35 x 30 x 25 cm
An original book sculpture in display case, with lights. Size approx: 35 x 30 x 25 cm
An example of a smaller, stand-alone sculpture
An example of a smaller, stand-alone sculpture

I estimate the delivery date of rewards to be between May - November 2021.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

I listened to the feedback from my previous books, (I've posted some comments below), and I believe this book is the book that people want, and it is the book that I want to make. 

I worked on my book with Thames and Hudson for 18 months, so I know how much time I will need to invest in this. 

I have experience of self-publishing. I self-published my monograph back in 2011, and have sold over 1500 copies worldwide from my web store alone.

This book will be printed in English language. 

This book taps into the current trend of mindfulness and well-being. It follows the popularity for colouring books and activity books, but it is more than that, it provides a deeper experience, one that you could really lose yourself in, if you wished to.

To be clear this book is not a pop-up book. The paper effigies you make for yourself will be independent of the book. Nor is it a book suitable for very young children.  

It will however, make a beautiful gift for someone special, or a special gift for your beautiful self.  

Thank you for reading. I hope you will feel inspired to support me in my endeavor, and join me in making this dream a reality.  

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Below is an example of the concept: Beautiful photographic illustrations, cut-out templates, and colour photographs accompanying written step-by-step instructions. 

A magical object (such as a slipper), example of a slipper template to cut out, original artwork illustrating a fairy tale, and simple step-by-step instructions to follow.
A magical object (such as a slipper), example of a slipper template to cut out, original artwork illustrating a fairy tale, and simple step-by-step instructions to follow.

Below are some comments I received from my 'Fairytale Princess Book', published by Thames and Hudson in 2012  

A beautiful book, only a pity there are no instructions on how to make the paper sculptures.

Christine Wilde 

I was hoping this book would show you how to make the 'models' as shown on the cover.

Jane Evans

I'm looking at your book 'The Fairytale Princess, and would like to know on average how long does it take to create one piece of art? And do you have any tips you could share? Your work is really fascinating!

Camilla Benton  

The Fairytale Princess Book, published by Thames & Hudson in 2012.
The Fairytale Princess Book, published by Thames & Hudson in 2012.
The Sleeping Beauty Theatre Book designed by Su Blackwell and Corinna Fletcher, published by Thames & Hudson in 2014
The Sleeping Beauty Theatre Book designed by Su Blackwell and Corinna Fletcher, published by Thames & Hudson in 2014

Who is Su Blackwell? 

Su was born in Sheffield in 1975. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in London in 2003, she went on to set up 'Su Blackwell Studio Ltd', (a busy art and design studio, working with a wide variety of clients, such as the National Trust, Vogue, Harvey Nichols, The Bronte Parsonage Museum, The Guardian, Waitrose, British Airways, Wall Street Journal and Fairmont Hotels). Su has exhibited her book sculpture in Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, and since 2008, regularly exhibits with commercial gallery Long & Ryle in London. Her book sculpture are commissioned around the world.  

Su has over 15 years experience of delivering creative workshops for clients in the UK and overseas, most notably with the V&A Museum, Charleston House, Central St Martins and The Centre for Book Arts in New York.  

Su has one assistant 'Emma', and they have been working together for 9 years. Su now lives and work in Hastings, (a small, creative coastal town in East Sussex) with her 6 year old daughter Miki. 

You can see more of Su's work at http://www.sublackwell.co.uk 

Instagram @sublackwellstudio 

Su in her studio in 2018
Su in her studio in 2018
Su leading a workshop to a school class in Italy.
Su leading a workshop to a school class in Italy.
Su with Emma (left), setting up an exhibition at The Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth in 2011
Su with Emma (left), setting up an exhibition at The Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth in 2011

su@sublackwell.co.uk

Risks and challenges

This is not a typical book project, and it will be a challenging venture. I ensure every paper template I design will be thoroughly considered and tested. It is important to me that the book engages with the largest possible audience. My main obstacle is raising sufficient funds. As always, I'll communicate any issues or delays immediately to my backers via my project updates. I have been working on the concept for over a year and I assure you every penny will be invested in producing a beautiful and awe-inspiring publication.
As far as I'm aware, there is nothing quite like this on the market. I am proposing the creation and production of a unique, high-end gift/art book for you to collect and treasure.
I am relying on your generosity to make this happen.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 13

    Once Upon A Time

    A Signed Postcard.
    You will receive an exclusive 'Into the Dark Woods' postcard signed by the artist.

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    Pledge £25 or more About US$ 31

    Long, Long Ago

    A Set of Signed Postcards.
    For this pledge, you will receive an exclusive set of signed 'Into the Dark Woods' postcards, featuring original artwork from the book.

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    12 backers
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    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 63

    There Lived A Girl

    A Signed Copy of the Book and an Invitation to the Book Launch.
    You will receive one of the first edition signed copies of the book, with your name credit printed in the acknowledgements. You will also receive an invitation for 2 to the private book launch and accompanying exhibition (date & venue to be confirmed).

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    Pledge £150 or more About US$ 189

    Who Went into the Dark Woods

    A Signed Copy of the Book and An Online Tutorial with the Artist.
    For this pledge, you will receive a download to an online tutorial with the artist who will guide you through each project. In addition, you will receive a signed copy of the book, your name credit in the acknowledgements, and an invitation for 2 to the book launch and exhibition (date & venue to be confirmed).

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    Limited 22 backers
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    Pledge £250 or more About US$ 315

    Where She Overcame Difficulties

    A Signed Copy of the Book and A Special Edition Fine Art Print.
    Along with your signed copy of the book, you will also receive an exclusive signed print, (an edition of which will only be available when you make a pledge). You will also receive a name credit in the book acknowledgements and an invitation for 2 to the private book launch and exhibition (date & venue to be confirmed).

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    Pledge £350 or more About US$ 441

    And Returned to her Kingdom

    Signed Copy of Book and A Workshop with the Artist.
    You will be offered a place on a one-day artist-led workshop with Su, to accompany her book launch in 2021. Depending on the locality of participants, events will take place in two venues in the North and South of the UK. Details will be sent out nearer the time. In addition, you will receive a signed copy of the book, your name credit in the acknowledgements, and an invitation for 2 to the book launch and exhibition (dates & venues to be confirmed).

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    Pledge £750 or more About US$ 945

    To Live Happily,

    A Signed Copy of the Book with A Collector's Set of Six Signed Prints.
    You will receive a set of six limited edition fine art prints luxuriously packaged in ribboned paper box, along with your signed copy of the book.
    Your name will be credited inside the book acknowledgements.
    You will also receive an invitation for 2 to the book launch and exhibition (date & venue to be confirmed).

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About US$ 1,889

    Ever After

    An Original Paper Sculpture and Signed Copy of the Book.
    You will receive a small paper sculpture displayed inside an acrylic box frame (from one of the twelve stand-alone sculptures to be featured inside the book), along with an authenticity certificate by the artist. You'll also receive a signed copy of the book, with your name credit in the acknowledgements, and an invitation for 2 to the book launch and exhibition in 2021 (venue to be confirmed).

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About US$ 6,298

    The End.

    An Original Book Sculpture in Display Case.
    For this special pledge, you will receive one of seven original book-sculptures with a fairy tale theme, photographs of which, will illustrate the story book over a double page spread.
    The creation will be a one-of-a-kind 'Su Blackwell' sculpture, displayed inside a wooden case with lights, with musuem quality glass at front. The sculpture will be signed and dated by the artist.
    With regards to which sculpture you'll receive, will be down to the luck of the draw. Your name will be drawn from a hat at the book launch/exhibition opening, where all of the art-works will be on display.
    You will also receive a signed copy of the book, and an invitation to the private book launch and exhibition in 2021, (date & venue to be confirmed).
    Shipping of the artworks will be to anywhere in the World, with a trusted International fine art shipping company.

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Funding period

- (46 days)