This next entry in the 100 Untimed Books challenge I’m filing under prompt #30: Paper.
Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists Timeless Craft, compiled by Laura Heyenga is a delightful journey into the world of contemporary paper cutting.
It begins with a short but interesting history of the art as practiced across the world. It then goes on to showcase the work of 28 contemporary artists. A brief bio of each artist is provided, along with some information about how they work or what influences and inspires them. Then there are numerous photographs of each artist’s work – enough so you really get a sense of their style, their technique, and their very different bodies of work.
Paper cutting has been of interest to me for quite some time and many of the artists are known to me. But there were also a lot of wonderful finds, and of course that’s always fun. Much of the work is mind-bogglingly intricate and complex. I love cuttings that incorporate words and tell stories, and there are many examples of those as well. And there are a number of unexpected demonstrations of just how diverse papercutting can be. Thomas Allen works with the pulp fiction paperbacks of the 40s and 50s and partially cuts out the characters on the covers. Justine Smith does some extraordinary work using paper currency – making both beautiful art while examining social, political and moral issues of money and the power it holds.
Using my floriography, language of flowers, rating system, I’m awarding this collection a bouquet of Centuary Bluebottle (delicacy), Pink Acacia (elegance), and Angelica (inspiration).
I’ll never be a skilled or intricate paper cutter, but I have played around a bit over the years. Many years ago I created a self portrait to accompany a zine interview, and I’ve often used it as an avatar. People often think it’s drawn, but it’s actually a paper cutting.
I must say reading this book has inspired me again and I’ve got all sorts of paper cutting ideas swirling around in my head. Somehow my mind is stuck on how I might construct a set of Matryoshka nesting dolls in the manner of those delightful paper chain people I’m sure we all created as children. Clearly I’ll never tire of playing paper and scissors.
What about you? Ever done any paper cutting? Created a non-photographed self-portrait? Make important decisions using Rock-Paper-Scissors? Reading anything interesting at the moment? Do tell – you know I love to hear.