Friday, November 12, 2010

Silhouettes and Paper Cutting

The holidays for me are a time when I create an array of gifts. I try not to duplicate items I made in the years past.

So in my quest to make something new I found yet another craft that sweeps my imagination away. It is also very easy on the pocket book, which for many of us can be quite a blessing.

What I found for this years mini gifts are paper cut scenes, or Scherenschnitte. This is a craft brought to us by our ancestors. Paper carving has been a folk art in most countries spanning since paper was invented.

I recall cutting silhouettes in grade school to give as gifts to our parents. Not to mention pretty much everyone have cut a snowflake to display in the winter.... another example of Sherenschnitte in our daily lives.

One of the best things is it is so accessible all you really need is scissors, or and X-acto paper and a mat or cutting board. I love the folk art charm of the pieces and have quite a few ideas I hope to make.

Above is a selection of ornaments I have been making, They are just 5" tall and a couple inches wide. Each scene takes me a while to think up and draw out, but once I begin to cut it is pretty simple. The main thing is to try to keep the scene connected so the paper stays whole. Another thing to be wary of is accidentally slicing way to far across a scene, it probably happens to me when I've been at it a while, or if the blade is dull... but I almost cut the head right off my Turkey while making the menu frame for my Thanksgiving party.

I am working on this to showcase our menu, it is 8"x11"and I have not decided what color to use in the background, likely it will be an Autumn orange. The center will be empty and we will print something and frame it for the table. I think my mom is going to LOVE it and she will be coming down to have the holiday with us this year, so it will also be a gift for her. Maybe we can take out the menu and replace that with a photo of the family gathering.

I hope someone out there is inspired by this post to create something beautiful for themselves or as gifts to others.




  1. Paper cutting is all over the place now. I love yours and it made me want to tell you how, about 30 years ago, I saw a woman being interviewed on TV and on the wall behind her she had a papercut. I tried as best I could to find out about internet in those days! I even wrote to DOVER books to see if they had any information, but I drew a blank. I knew it was a big craft somewhere in the world, I never realised it was quite this big.

  2. Jackie I love that story. It just shows how much the internet has completly changed the playing field. I don't have TV service but I have the internet I just can't do without it.

    Theresa Thank you :)

  3. Cytel, these are beautiful. One could use colored cellophane or tissue paper for the backing too. Then light would shine through. Your mom will love the big one you made. can't wait to see the quilt too.