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elly mackay’s magical paper worlds

Elly MacKay has a daydreamer’s imagination, creating little worlds from paper and paint then setting them into a paper theatre and photographing them. Sweet and beautifully crafted. The artist sells prints of the mostly-childhood themes, and has recently authored and illustrated a book.


The Botanist – Girl
She wove her crown from the flowers that grew around her.


The Botanist – Boy 
He found the rarest of thistles by his rock in the woods.


 The Botanist Girl & Boy sit in Elly MacKay’s hand,
painted and ready to be placed into their world.

The video below gives you a WONDERFUL look at her process as she talks about her new book.

Inspired by tunnel books (which she has been making since her teen years), magic lanterns, paper theaters and other Victorian inventions, this mother of two young children sees the world through their eyes and lets her images tell their stories.


 The Knitters

“I have a fluid process. With layers to create the setting, individual characters, lighting, filters, camera height and settings, there is lots of play prior to getting the shot I am looking for and many surprises.”


Each sister crafted a kite of their own.
They tied their hopes to a string and set them to fly in the wind.


Quiet Companions
Still, they listened to the sound of leaves.
And as the wind whispered of the winter to come,
the gentle autumn sun kindly warmed their thick coats to fend off the breeze.


“I use Yupo paper, a plastic paper. It has strength, allowing it to bend without creasing, and it stands up easily. It also catches the light quite beautifully and takes ink well. I have found that some interesting effects can be achieved with it if you spray it, roll over inked areas with other colours, etc.”


Tranquil Morning – Two Sisters
The cranes taught lessons to the girls on topics of both grace and beauty.
However, the cranes could only be found at their teaching post on the most tranquil of mornings.


Elly MacKay’s website

MacKay’s Facebook page



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