Back in the summer, I sat down and made a papercutting on the spur of the moment – the best kind of art! I drew and cut the dragon, castle, unicorn and wolf in about two hours, while watching a film, and then sat and looked at the bottom of the design for a ridiculous amount of time. I couldn’t work out what I needed to fill that space, and anything I tried just didn’t work.Finally, I realised exactly what that space was calling out for, and after a painstaking eternity cutting out letters I was finally satisfied.
The cutting fitted into a frame I had lying around already, and it sat in that on my mantelpiece for a week or so. Meanwhile, I had posted about it on Craftster, where it received a volume of complimentary messages that I hadn’t anticipated, and also a request for me to sell it to another member for her partner’s birthday. While I have made items to sell in the past, and intend to do so on a more regular basis in the future, it was flattering to be asked about this spur of the moment design! Which is how a tiny papercutting of mine has come to be hanging on a wall in LA, a lovely thought for me as I sit in wintry Yorkshire…
My mum’s birthday was at the end of September, and I knew that I wanted to make her a special papercut. For once, I even knew what the subject would be. When I was little (as in, as soon as I could speak) we used to recite Edward Lear poems together, particularly ‘The Jumblies’ and ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. I knew how much Mum would love to have a piece of art that recalled those memories.
Most of the design came together very quickly; the Owl, Cat, tree and writing in particular. Strangely, it took longer to work out how to fit in as many elements of the story as possible, and so the quince and the runcible spoon (if you are looking confused, I recommend reading the poem!) were the very last elements to fit together. I was happy with the design overall, although in an ideal world I would have altered the shape of the boat, but more importantly Mum loved it!
I imagine that I’ll go back to The Owl and the Pussycat for inspiration again, since it holds such a special meaning for me. And after all, it’s a fantastic poem – why not?
You see, most of the times that I have cut designs for cards and so on, I have used card, not paper – it just seemed easier to talk about ‘paper cuts’. This was the first time that I have actually done something that corresponded more to what you’ll find if you google ‘paper cutting’; and I can’t tell you how much easier it is to use paper instead of card! No aching fingers from pressing the knife through the card, no having to make lots and lots of tiny cuts to get a tight curve right – it was so much more relaxing!
Because I was in a hurry, I used an image that I found online to get the shape of the horse, although the rest of the design was more original. The colours are a little off in the above photo – it’s a true red against deep navy in real life.
I framed the design in a simple glass clip-frame and gave it to a friend for her birthday. She loved it – another example of how something that is really quite simple to make can come across so well.
I enjoyed making this and will certainly be using similar designs again, but I won’t be abandoning ‘my’ version of paper[card]cutting – it might be painful on occasion but it still looks effective and it’s a bit less delicate!