Inspiring Designer: Raya Sader Bujana

October 19, 2016 by Erin Behan

Artist Raya Sader Bujana cuts and bends paper to her will, recreating botanicals like lilly pads and ferns; mimicking foods like a sandwich, sardine and latte; and, as a commission around this summer's Olympics, creating serial plane-cut paper figurines representing different competitions in the Games.

Inspiring Designer: Raya Sader Bujana
The Barcelona-based artist, who was born in Beirut and has lived in Greece, Dubai, Venezuela, Spain and Costa Rica, sells her work as the Little Ray of Sunflower on Etsy. Her online shop and her Instagram are filled with amazing paper pieces, including tiny little origami flowers she seals with a glass finish resin and puts on necklaces, rings and earrings.

Her work has a structured, sculptural quality to it, perhaps due to her background in architecture, which she studied in Venezuela and Barcelona. "Art was always a huge part of my life, since childhood, and grew stronger and stronger when I started architecture," she says.

Inspiring Designer: Raya Sader Bujana
University is also where Sader Bujana fell in love with paper. That interest, combined with her natural state as an observer, has translated into an ability to mimic nature and life with paper. "The more time you spend looking at the real thing and adding details, the more precise it will be," she says.

She's chosen to work mostly with Canson Mi-Teintes, a thick, heavy paper with a high rag content — "It's light resistant. I love the texture and the variety of colors, the weight and cutting into it," she says, even as she acknowledges that it makes certain of her projects, like leaves and flowers more of a "challenge" than if she were to use a material like crepe paper.

Inspiring Designer: Raya Sader Bujana
Her work is slow and methodical. First, "I take my time and let an idea sit," she says. Next she makes a hand-drawing and 3-D paper model to "see mistakes," and only then does she get into cutting and shaping the paper. "I think shaping the pieces is what makes them come to life," she says.

Inspiring Designer: Raya Sader Bujana
Her Olympic pieces, in particular, embody motion. "I was really adamant on focusing on movement and fluidity to represent each discipline and serial planes seemed like the perfect way to do that," she says of the work she did in collaboration with photographer Leo García Méndez.

It was a difficult, tedious but rewarding project, with some of the sculptures using up to 150 pieces of cut paper and 500 separators. "I worked hand-in-hand with an industrial designer and 3-D artist to be able to achieve the correct position and body type of the athletes. Then came the hand-cutting and assembling to reach the final pieces," she says.

As to what inspires her and keeps her going, nature and travel top her list. "In fact," she says with a laugh, "the piece I've been working on lately is inspired by travel and how much I miss it."

SHOP AT Distinct Papers for your paper and cardstock.

Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


Visit Distinct Papers to buy high-quality paper or card stock for your next project or to find the right copy paper, correspondence stationery and envelopes.


Recent Posts