John Speight’s Beautiful Papercut Art – Be Inspired

Having returned from holiday with my wife in Northumberland, England, I thought it would be nice to share a wonderful and inspirational experience with you. Although our primary aim was to visit two National Trust properties, namely, ‘Wallington House & Gardens’ and ‘Cragside House & Gardens’, our hotel was also close to Kirkharle Courtyard, where we met John Speight.

Kirkharle Courtyard

Those who know my contributions to Smart Photo Editor’s Effects Gallery may remember that I created two series of ‘Silhouette Overlays’. Here are examples of these two series:

Example 1

Effect Name: Ab silhouette figures 001-058

Example 2

Effect Name:Tree silhouettes series one 001-012

So it was an absolute delight when we stumbled upon John’s Workshop & Gallery at Kirkharle Courtyard. Here is an example of the intricacies of John’s stunning ‘hand-cut’ Silhouette Artworks which he creates individually from black paper using only a scalpel. Almost all of his work has been cut in one piece. To complete, John mounts each silhouette onto hand-tinted watercolor paper and signs the mount.


Image used by permission

Although the image shown is beautiful in its own right, no photograph could do John’s work justice. It certainly is a cliche, but we were BLOWN AWAY when we viewed the real thing.

Our first visit was very short as it was near closing time so we promised that we would go back, which we did the next morning. My wife bought me a framed paper-cut as an anniversary present which we both adore – here it is.


Image used by permission

John followed in the footsteps of John Forrester (his uncle) and Arthur Forrester (his grandfather) who were both papercut artists before him. However, this ‘third generation’ self-taught MASTER PAPERCUT ARTIST has taken his art to a new level.

I invite you to discover John’s work for yourself at the following link where you can learn much more about the artist, his history and his EXCEPTIONAL papercut art.

John Speight’s Website

John was very gracious when we met him and he gave of his time freely to show how he made his silhouettes and explain his processes. He offers a wide range of subject matter to meet different tastes and most people could afford to buy one of his artworks as they start from around £10 upward to around £1000.

John has printed cards available too for around £2.50 – they are lovely, but they only give a hint of the BEAUTY seen in a proper hand-cut original.

This blog is about Smart Photo Editor (SPE), but it should be recognised that inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. I still intend developing  silhouette effects for the Effects Gallery and these will further extend  the scope of SPE in the creative processes, but one thing is certain, we will never match the extreme beauty of John’s hand-cut silhouette artworks. I’m sure there are many out there who use laser-cutting processes to create art, but John’s work is the REAL thing and I’m so pleased to have met him and have an artwork prominently positioned at home to remind me of my visit and to be inspired by his incredible skill and artistry.

Best wishes to John in all his endeavours.

Kind regards,


Smart Photo Editor Website