Paper Cutting

Paper cut art is a very old folk art craft that originated in the 4th century in China around the time paper was invented and the creation of paper cut art can be found all over the world. In Germany paper cutting is known as Scherenschnitte. The Swiss paper cuts are often symmetrical and very beautiful. Knippen is the term the Dutch use to describe their paper cut art. The Polish art form is called wycinanki and papel picado is what paper cut art is called in Mexico.


Paper cut art is always decorative and can be functional as well. Paper cut art was used as templates for furniture decorations, for embroidery patterns, ornaments, and decorations for legal and religious documents. Silhouettes portraits recorded images as early as 1631, long before cameras were invented.


Some paper cuts are cut with scissors, some with knives, some with chisels. Some are folded, some layered in different colored paper, some are dimensional. Each paper cut artist has their favorite subject matter and method to cutting paper.


My paper cut art is mostly knife cut on archival paper. Other tools I use are pencils, rulers and scissors. After drawing the image on a white lightweight paper I clip the paper onto the archival paper and proceed to cut. Some changes are made as I go along, but the essence of the story I want to tell remains the same.