Starving artist was cut out for sure-fire global success

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The Northumberland-raised artist behind this year’s global paper-cutting craze has told how two years ago she was so poor she was reduced to eating just one potato a day.

Boo Paterson, whose Papercut This Book is set to become a worldwide smash, had been struggling to make ends meet for several years.

She said: “The recession wiped out my business and I had a few lean years where I was paying my mortgage on 13 credit cards. I cut my expenses to the bone, which meant living off one baked potato a day.”

But even when Ms Paterson’s art career started to skyrocket, she was getting increasingly desperate for food.

She said: “My work was exhibited in the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy, it was getting press coverage all over the world and I was about to sign a global deal with this amazing publisher, but I was absolutely starving.

“I remember going shopping with my aunt and being shocked when she didn’t hesitate to buy a £2 punnet of raspberries. I love raspberries, but hadn’t eaten them for years because £2 was nearly half my week’s food budget.”

Now it looks like Ms Paterson, who grew up near Morpeth and illustrated the majority of Papercut This Book there, will never be hungry again due to the success of the book, which is predicted to overtake colouring-in as the cool new craft for adults.

Published by Batsford, the team behind the multi-million selling Millie Marotta colouring books, Papercut This Book contains all the paper, templates and instructions needed to create your own intricate, gallery-quality papercuts, even if you have no artistic ability at all.

Ms Paterson, who still regularly stays in the North East, said: “I’ve made paper artworks ever since I was a child and I never thought I would eventually make a living from it. A global book deal was beyond my wildest dreams.

“When I got my advance the first thing I bought was two punnets of raspberries and ate them all in one sitting. I’ve never tasted anything so satisfying or so sweet.”