Beautiful Recycled Paper Art From Almost Nothing

Sabine Brosche is a nature lover living in Australia on a remote property surrounded by wildlife and the rainforest. Most of her life she has enjoyed the busyness of an urban lifestyle – now the stillness of nature is magic to her. “I think I have become addicted to it” she says.

Sabine also creates beautiful art from virtually nothing and shares her story with us here today.

How did you become an artist?

After two successful careers I wanted to change lanes and do something totally different yet again. I have always enjoyed learning a new skill and moving to new places. When I turned 43, I settled with my partner in the Australian countryside and started studying Fine Arts at University and Art College.

Nowadays my ‘working’ life revolves around caring for the land I live on, and my art. Over the years I have learned so much, not only about art but also about property maintenance – and a new world opened up to me as I started to understand more about nature, especially about the native flora and fauna. I have discovered a whole new level of connection with the natural world, which now always influences my artwork. Also nature and creativity are a healing influence and support me through difficult periods of anxiety and depression.

upcycled paper cut art

Burned & Cut Pages, Nature Lover #1, 2015, Cut and burned book pages, h30x w24 cm

Why is sustainability important to you?

During my time at art college I became a shopaholic when it came to art supplies! I was somehow convinced I needed expensive materials to produce something really interesting. I bought more and more stuff, but my creativity did not expand exponentially. I realised that I was trying too hard and that I had lost touch with what I am really interested: ecology, conservation and sustainability.

To me sustainable art addresses directly or indirectly, the environmental issues we are facing today. But equally important is that the actual process of making the art piece is ecologically responsible.

 Burned & Cut Pages, Nature Lover #2, 2015, Cut and burned book pages, h24x w29 cm

Burned & Cut Pages, Nature Lover #2, 2015, Cut and burned book pages, h24x w29 cm

How did you decide to use recycled materials in your art?

I love the idea of ‘Making Art from almost Nothing’. I was asking myself the question, what can you make if you don’t want to spend any or very little money? Or if you simply don’t want to buy more stuff? What can you create if you are in a situation with very little resources?

I looked around at what materials are freely available and I decided to go for paper: old books, used newspaper and magazines.

I started by rummaging around in quirky second hand stores and garage sales for interesting paper. I enjoy this treasure hunt and it brings back some pleasant memories from childhood. My father is an antique collector, and I grew up exploring people’s sheds, barns, back rooms and cellars for valuable items.

My latest project is called ‘Burned & Cut’ and it is entirely made from reclaimed paper, taken from used books bought really cheaply from the local second hand stores, or saved from the paper recycling bins.

 Burned & Cut Pages, A Simple Garden #2, 2015, Cut and burned book pages, h24x w22 cm

Burned & Cut Pages, A Simple Garden #2, 2015, Cut and burned book pages, h24x w22 cm

 Oxford Dictionary: Tracing Symbols, 2015, cut and burned book pages, h25 x w33 cm

Oxford Dictionary: Tracing Symbols, 2015, cut and burned book pages, h25 x w33 cm

What are you 5 top tips to creating a more sustainable home

There are so many creative ways of recycling book pages, newspaper, magazines, packaging, tissue paper, envelopes or any random bits of paper. So before you put them into the bin, think and consider your possibilities:

1. Draw & Paint
Try drawing or painting on an old book page. You can draw directly onto the page or you can use a little bit of white transparent paint (acrylic, gouache) to create a thin white background layer. Keep the paint fairly dry so the paper does not buckle too much. Make sure you don’t loose the original text or image completely as it creates interest to see it shine though.

2. Found Poetry
Book pages, magazine and newspaper articles are great for creating found poetry. If you google ‘Found Poetry’ or ‘Found Poems’ you get lots of amazing inspirations.

Collaging is a fun way of working with images from magazines or even newspapers. Look at other collage artists online if you need inspiration. It can be a bit overwhelming to start with. My reminder for overwhelm is: Keep it simple. Keep it fun.

4.Origami: I have never tried origami but if I was to attempt it, I would use reclaimed paper.

5. Paper Cut & Burn
As a beginner you can easily download free paper cut templates from the internet. You will need a cutting mat and xacto knife from your local craft store. If you would like try burning but you don’t have a pyrography craft tool, simply use an incense stick. Don’t use thick or glossy paper – it will be hard to burn into it. Start playing with random marks, as if you were drawing and see where it takes you.

6. Paper Mache
There are two main methods to work with paper mache: torn news paper strips glued together and preparing paper pulp. I have created elaborate sculptures made only from torn newspaper strips and glue.

I like to use the internet for inspiration and to learn new techniques from other artists. There are so many creative people out there who generously share their skills with the world.

Most importantly, have fun creating. My own biggest hurdle is the inner critic who always has some negative comments and seems to know better. The Art of not listening is a daily practice!

Contact Info:
Sabine Brosche


  1. Sainab on March 3, 2016 at 5:07 am

    These are absolutely beautiful, I love how you’ve used recycled materials it creates such an interesting affect to the end product!

  2. […] DIY via Recycled Interiors […]

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