Friday, July 11, 2008

Paper cuts

This is the third week of my online class, and one of the exercises is paper cutting. I had a lot of fun cutting into colored paper to create designs with strong positive and negative space. One of the other exercises this week involves first folding and then cutting the paper, similar to making paper snowflakes, which I do every December (and detailed in a post last Christmastime). I hope to get to it over the weekend.

Our instructor, Sharon Boggon, also introduced us to someone you absolutely have to check out: Cynthia Ferguson, who does the most gorgeous scherenschnitte, the German form of intricate papercutting. I wandered onto her etsy site and ordered up one of the prints of her work this morning. Amazing stuff!

Here are some more paper cuts I glued into my studio journal:

I also created the "Rubin Face Vase" using profile silhouettes I made of myself and my children. The Rubin Face Vase is a famous image where you see both a vase (the white space in the middle) and the two faces that frame it in black. These are referred to as the "figure" and the "ground."

I'm going to take some of these designs and play with "repeats" (spacing repeating motifs out over the space to create an overall pattern) next. I also think it might be fun to cut these kinds of images from freezer paper, iron it to fabric, and then paint fabric paint on top, with the freezer paper acting as a resist. Some might make great stamps or potato prints.


  1. How fun those are to look at.

    What kind of knife do you use for the cutting? I've been eyeing up the Olfa craft knife; it looks like it might be easier to hold.

  2. Hi, Sequana,
    I just used really sharp craft scissors! I have a small pair of Gingher ones, and a larger Martha Stewart pair. Both are super sharp. I drew out my design with pencil, lightly, then cut on the lines.

    I've never used the Olfa craft knife, just a plain old X-acto. After seeing a photo of the Martha Stewart Craft knife on Cynthia Ferguson's blog, I bought one yesterday. It's basically an X-acto knife, but so much more nicely designed (even pretty!) and ergonomic. I got mine at Michaels Craft Store. I'll try using it in the next few days and will post about it.


  3. So very cool. I happened upon a blog that post people's cut-outs and found out they were called "Notan", a japanese word about the relationship btwn light and dark.
    Had not done any yet but looking at yours I might have to set up a date to play and cut some of my own. Really want to use them to make silk screens out of them.
    Bring some to show on Monday.

  4. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for the shout out! Your work is so pretty. Quilting is the next thing I want to learn how to do.


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