Monday, January 5, 2009

Paper Cuttings For The Holidays

I couldn't post these photos before the holidays because they were gifts for people, and I didn't want to take a chance that they would see them beforehand.

As much as I love to cross stitch, I've wanted to get back into something that I used to do a long time ago, and that is paper cutting. My biological Dad was an artist, and excelled in many different art forms. He taught me the basics of many, and one was the art of Scherenschnitte, which is quite a mouthful for an English/Irish person to say! But the art is beautiful, and it is a lot of fun to create images out of paper. They can be as simple or as intricate as you like, and is only limited by your imagination.

As with a lot of things, changes have been made in how cuttings are made. More are done with a craft knife than just with scissors, although there are many purists who prefer to have the challenge of scissor cuts. The same with paper. It used to be the standard to use a very thin black paper, but today, every type is used, including thicker card stock.

My own personal feeling is to do it the way that you get the most enjoyment. It should be a relaxing and fun journey, not a stressful one.

One cutting I did is of Santa and his sleigh. It is larger than the average piece of paper, and requires that you glue the two edges together so that the whole piece can be accordion folded into quarters, and stand on a mantle or tabletop.

The other oversize piece that I did was a tree made out of the people, animals and those 5 Gold Rings, of the song, Twelve Days Of Christmas.

The tree itself consists of four sections, a top and bottom that are glued, then the identical sections are glued along the center spine, so that you wind up with a standing, four dimensional paper tree.

The other paper cutting project that I made for this holiday season, was smaller in details, but larger in number. I made a set of ornaments, either to hang or stand, from the characters of the ballet, The Nutcracker.

These were a lot of fun to do, despite the sometimes extremely delicate cutting, and I'm so happy with how they came out. There are two identical figures on each band of paper. The band is then curved around and glued. Strategic points on the figures themselves are glued, to form a three-dimensional affect.

These are all cut from white card stock, which gives them more body. If someone wanted, they could color them with a color wash, or markers, or embellish them with scrapbooking papers.

Mother Ginger, the Christmas Tree & The Grandfather Clock all have separate identical cutouts, that are then glued together. The tree and the clock on the spine, and then are either hung, or can stand. Mother Ginger's huge skirt is gently folded in accordion folds on the bottom outside edge, and glued, forming a huge hoop skirt.

If you are the least bit inquisitive about trying some paper cutting, I'd give it a try! It really is a lot of fun to do. It is one of those projects that you can stop at any time, then pick up later, and you don't have to spend a lot of time figuring out where you left off. It travels well too. I've talked to people who sit in doctor's offices and snip!

I've already got some ideas swirling around in my head for Valentine's Day, Springtime, and of course, Halloween! And I'm sure that there will be some new ideas brewing for the Yuletide season as well. I've long wanted to create a tree with all needlework ornaments. .maybe have some paper cut ones on there as well, until I get enough for their own tree!!