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Vera Van Wolferen

An independent artist, set designer and animator, Vera Van Wolferen graduated in 2013 and has already been named by Monocle as one the new generation animators. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Sets built from paper and daydreams

In today’s highly technological profession of animation, where most films are built and designed on computers, Vera makes hers manually.

Intricate Details and Objects

Equipped with patience and perseverance, her intricately detailed worlds are inspired by nostalgic personal experiences, everyday objects and daydreams.

Vera`s calling to animation

From making elaborate doll houses to creating stories, music and movement, animation assimilated all her passions. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Paper: Ideal choice of medium

Each set is built out of a mix of different papers and then animated through stop motion. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Perfecting her craft

Often her days start blank, and her project takes wings intuitively. Currently working with watercolour paper, Vera uses Cinema 4d to design and a plotter to cut her designs out on paper. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

The most challenging part: the flaps

“One of the most important parts in the process is to decide where the flaps will be. And also the order in which you put the pieces together,” she says. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Pieces from the Thought Hopper 3000

For instance, a paper car sized 20 cm has around 300 pieces to be glued together. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Inside the paper kitchen

A complex model, she explains it takes multiple days to construct each item – the inside of the kitchen took her a week to make.

Thought Hopper 3000

Thought Hopper 3000 – an interactive website where you can visit a paper camper and click your way through animated scenes.

Stories found in Vera`s details

“This is a project I wish to keep expanding by adding new rooms and scenes. I love how this project makes it possible to really visit my paper universe,” Vera declares.

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Showcase 23 Apr 2018

Looking Beyond: Building from cardboard and daydreams, Vera Van Wolferen’s handmade stop-motion

Have you ever lost yourself in your world of daydreams? Crafted to fit the wonders only your imagination could hold, where birds are the size of elephants, and homes could be on wheels. Vera Van Wolferen uses paper, cardboard and wood to hand-craft such fantastical worlds, from thoughts and dreams into reality.

An independent artist, set designer and animator, Vera Van Wolferen graduated in 2013 and has been named by Monocle as one of the brightest new generation animators. In today’s highly technological profession of animation, where most films are built and designed on computers, Vera makes hers manually. Equipped with patience and perseverance, her intricately detailed worlds are inspired by nostalgic personal experiences, everyday objects and daydreams. 

Vera Van Wolferen

An independent artist, set designer and animator, Vera Van Wolferen graduated in 2013 and has already been named by Monocle as one the new generation animators. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

An integrated craft

“As a kid, I was always making things and enjoyed creative subjects in school the most. Or I was writing plays that I let all my classmates come rehearse at my house,” Vera tells us. From making elaborate doll houses to creating stories, music and movement, animation assimilated all her passions. 

Sets built from paper and daydreams

In today’s highly technological profession of animation, where most films are built and designed on computers, Vera makes hers manually.

After completing her Bachelor degree in Fine Arts, she applied to study masters in Animation at St. Joost, Breda. The then-aspiring storyteller, also an avid reader tells us how ‘Understanding Comics’ by Scott McCloud inspired her work process. “I especially was drawn to the chapter where he explains how comics from different cultures picture and pace a story in a different way,” she elaborates. Finding beauty in timing and details, she sets upon crafting her own stories – using handmade sets and stop motion cinematography

Vera`s calling to animation

From making elaborate doll houses to creating stories, music and movement, animation assimilated all her passions. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

From making elaborate doll houses to creating stories, music and movement, animation assimilated all her passions.

Working on her stop motion graduation film – How to Catch a Bird – and sharing the work online helped her receive an array of clients. As her clientele and projects increased, Vera established herself as an independent artist of this unique creative.

Intricate Details and Objects

Equipped with patience and perseverance, her intricately detailed worlds are inspired by nostalgic personal experiences, everyday objects and daydreams.

Creating the sets

Once in Art School, Vera picked up a grey board to work with, because it was the cheapest material available. The simplicity and workability of the material left her intrigued. “I loved how this simple material got so much value when I made something out of it.” Starting there and experimenting with similar materials, she now has a wide array of materials she has mastered – balsa wood, different types of paper and other kinds of boards. 

Paper: Ideal choice of medium

Each set is built out of a mix of different papers and then animated through stop motion. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

 
Perfecting her craft

Often her days start blank, and her project takes wings intuitively. Currently working with watercolour paper, Vera uses Cinema 4d to design and a plotter to cut her designs out on paper. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

Often her days start blank, and her project takes wings intuitively. Currently working with watercolour paper, Vera uses Cinema 4d to design and a plotter to cut her designs out on paper. The plotter eases her work flow, letting her undertake more complex designs. Gluing each piece together consumes most of her time, and bigger the set, heavier the paper.

The most challenging part: the flaps

“One of the most important parts in the process is to decide where the flaps will be. And also the order in which you put the pieces together,” she says. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

“One of the most important parts in the process is to decide where the flaps will be. And also the order in which you put the pieces together,” she says, highlighting the challenges in her work. For instance, a paper car sized 20 cm has around 300 pieces to be glued together. Slanted tweezers and toothpicks are her aids in getting to difficult spots and maneuvering tiny bends. 

“I see it as a visual poem, with elements that come back in different places but in a different form or scale.”

Most of her work transpires 3 dimensionally as opposed to 2 dimensional sketches. She finds that more comfortable, and they are easier to explain to clients.

The Thought Hopper 3000

Presently she’s designing and crafting the Thought Hopper 3000 –  an interactive website where you can visit a paper camper and click your way through animated scenes. The project is Vera’s way of inviting the internet for a 5 minute getaway to her paper world. “I see it as a visual poem, with elements that come back in different places but in a different form or scale,” she explains.

Inside the paper kitchen

A complex model, she explains it takes multiple days to construct each item – the inside of the kitchen took her a week to make.

Each set is built out of a mix of different papers and then animated through stop motion. “This is a project I wish to keep expanding by adding new rooms and scenes. I love how this project makes it possible to really visit my paper universe,” Vera declares. A complex model, she explains it takes multiple days to construct each item – the inside of the kitchen took her a week to make.

Pieces from the Thought Hopper 3000

For instance, a paper car sized 20 cm has around 300 pieces to be glued together. [Photo credit Mia Tengco]

One half of her studio is built to be darkened and transformed into a stop-motion production room. Although on most occasions she works independently; for bigger projects her work gets more collaborative. Such as in case of the Thought Hopper 3000, she has an interaction designer, a developer and a composer forming her core team.

Looking into the future with Vera

From animated films to the possibilities of Virtual Reality and 360 degree videos, Vera wants to experiment with it all. “I’d also like to turn the Thought Hopper 3000 into an app and explore the possibilities of turning my paper worlds into games,” she adds. As long as she can remain independent and try new things, Vera is looking forward to letting her paper worlds run loose and expand. 

Thought Hopper 3000

Thought Hopper 3000 – an interactive website where you can visit a paper camper and click your way through animated scenes.

To immerse yourself into Vera’s meticulously-crafted dreamy world, visit her website, or check out her work on the Thought Hopper 3000.