Nikki McClure – Apple

Sometimes, as the old saying goes, all that is old is new. That’s certainly the case with Cozy Classics, as well as with the “new” book by acclaimed cut-paper artist Nikki McClure called Apple. It was, in fact, her very first book, originally self-published and sold in a limited edition of just 200 copies. Now, 16 years later, it is being widely released by Abrams Appleseed. Apple was the very first book to feature McClure’s signature style of illustration, achieved through intricate and delicate papercuts.

McClure’s website describes her own work as follows:

Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates a bold language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature, and activism into a simple and endearing picture… Nikki’s images exude a positivity that revolves around community, sustenance, parenting, and appreciating both the urban and rural landscape, undoubtedly influenced by her home in the Northwest and specifically Olympia. 

Besides the gorgeous illustrations, we love the one word, one image concept used in Apple — the same simple technique used in Cozy Classics. Despite the sparse language, Apple traces a narrative arc, following the life of an apple throughout the year and demonstrating the cyclical patterns in nature. Holman’s wife was originally skeptical that Cozy Classics‘ goal of telling a story one word at a time would succeed until she saw their almost 3-year-old daughter “read” Apple to herself (based on memorization), but clearly appreciating the individual words, the context, and the suggestion of story.

Below are some more images from Apple, as well as another one of Nikki McClure’s papercuts in her distinctive style.