We come in contact with a lot of different people. When we go shopping we squeeze past other shoppers in the aisles, we stroll behind groups of teens at the mall, we order our fast food from smiling faces in the drive through.
Do you think about all the people you see from day to day? Not your family, friends, workmates, and acquaintances who you know by name – but the “everyday” people you may exchange a quick glance or smile with somewhere during the rush of the day?
I’m not sure when it started, but I have always enjoyed watching strangers. I liked to figure out how a group of people dining inside Burger King were connected. I’d spot a man waiting for the bus in a nice suit, and wonder where he worked and how he felt about taking the bus instead of driving a car (here in Omaha most people prefer to drive their own car – public transportation is generally viewed as an inconvenience).
I tried to find elements of myself and my family in other people. I am the youngest child – with 8 half brothers and sisters from my dad’s first marriage, 6 step brothers and sisters from my step-dad, and 1 brother from my mom and dad. My parents were also 27 years apart and my dad was 62 when I was born. So when I looked at other people I would try to find a family similar to ours. That rarely happened.
When I was 9 I felt moved to create drawings of families, then I’d cut out each individual, color them, name them, give them an occupation, age, and create a family tree. I loved making these drawings, which I later called “paper people“. I was embarrassed, though, especially once I got into my teens to let anyone, other than my family, know that I was making hundreds of these little drawings. I stopped making them when I was 13 when I was, in my mind, officially too grown up to continue. I packed them up in a box – they were actually organized in a filing system 🙂 – and stuck them in the darkness under my bed. I even thought of tossing them, but thankfully my brother convinced me to keep them. Thanks, Dylan!
Now that I have been working at starting up a business with my Etsy shop, I have dug the paper people out – made them into magnets, and I feel that same love I had originally when I created them in the past.
A kind Etsy seller, Tiffany of WaterHorseStudio stumbled across my shop and left a sweet message that I think really articulates why I created the paper people and why I now want to share them with you.
You have captured characteristics in these paper people that feel like everyday people we see walking down the street, shopping at the market and going to work…Having all these people, different cultures, different skin colors, different occupations is great in teaching children about the acceptance of people and diversity.
Thanks again Tiffany for making my day!
I see the paper people as more than quirky drawings, they represent the ordinary people we see everyday and celebrate the uniqueness that each person possesses. In a world that moves so fast and is increasingly teaching young people to be self-centered – I hope my paper people will help us all to celebrate the beauty in others 🙂