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A Spring Wreath

16 Apr

Our door has been looking so woefully bare since the Christmas wreath came down – it’s so much nicer to come home to be greeted by a lovely piece of art instead of burgundy sameness day after day. (Okay, it’s not that bleak.)

I don’t like storebought wreaths and I loathe fake flowers, all plasticy and … fake. So I decided to try my hand at a spring wreath, again in paper:

flowers

Each petal is hand cut from white or cream cardstock, as are the fringed centers. Glitter and holographic embossing powder coat each petal, giving them a bit more depth and dimension. And each flower (after endless gluing) is finished off with a vintage button from my mother’s stash (and to think, just a short time ago I was going to get rid of the buttons altogether!).

wreath2

I won’t lie – this took me about a month and two false starts to get it right. But it’s so worth it, don’t you think?

finishedwreath

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Religion Rewritten Through Paper Cuts

4 Apr

I am in awe. This is probably the most interesting paper cutting I’ve seen in the last two years. Forget laser cutting through books (does anyone else think laser cutting is kind of cheating?), this is… well, I’ll let you see for yourself!

03mhs

Meg Hitchcock painstakingly cuts letters from religious texts and then reassembles them to create the words of other holy books.

04mhs

Isn’t that beautiful?

New Papercut

24 Aug

My mother-in-law’s birthday is coming up, and I am unable to be there for the big celebration, which just stinks. But at least I can send my husband over with a little gift.

This is papercut is kind of unusual in that it is brand new to me – I’ve never before used vellum, and this is my first go at a multi-layer cut. I only have the top layer done so far – but you can see what I hope to do with the rest of it.

And for those of you who might wonder: this is the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, in North Carolina.

I hope to have this completed by the end of the weekend, so keep an eye out!

New Paper Cut Card

27 Jul

I’ll just keep this short and sweet:

Here is a card that I made for my friend.

It took me 4 tries to figure out that I had to cut to the left of the fold (spatial reasoning fail).

As you can see, I’m still learning to cut the curves (lithium shakes don’t help).

It’s backed with watercolored and ironed tracing paper.

I hope she loves it.

New Weapon In the Paper Cutting Arsenal

23 Jul

I have several favorite tools that I use in my paper cuts – my two favorites are the swivel-headed X-Acto, and the retractable X-Acto. I know a lot of artists prefer to use a knife with a #11 blade, but I find those harder to control and harder to keep sharp (although you can sharpen them with a knife sharpener). I also have favorite pencils and papers, and so on.

But now I also have these:

Do you recognize them? Here’s a close-up:

I had never seen these before… until the day I stopped into Sally Beauty Supply for some hair goop. And there they were, beckoning to me from the manicure rack. They are sanding sticks, and they are a mere 39 cents each. And they are awesome because, however sharp or swivelly your blade is, your paper cuts will always have some jagged edges, especially in the curves.

The sticks are small, smaller than a pencil, and they fit perfectly into all kinds of swirls and curves. As long as you aren’t using tissue paper, they take the rough edges right off. (When you’ve been doing this with a tiny roll of uncooperative sandpaper for a while, you will see how miraculous these are. )

Did I mention how cheap they are? Love that.

Paper Cut in Progress…

3 Jul

… in other words, I promise that I’m actually working on something. Just a little something, but my brain has been churning around ideas for some much larger somethings.

It’s just a little card for a very dear friend who was recently hit by a car (and by hit, I mean smashed). She’ll be in rehab for a long time, which means lots of chances to create art for her!

And I have not forgotten her furbabies – the dogs will be getting a tin of peanut butter biscuits shortly. I am still working out what to make for the cats – I have a feeling tuna treats won’t ship well from Vegas to Boston!

Banner Day!

19 Jun

It doesn’t take much to make me happy (this may or may not be a lie). At the very least, it doesn’t take much to delight me. Finding the perfect piece of metal on the ground, the way Draya’s tongue lolls farther and farther the more tired she gets, that sort of thing.

The delivery man has a special place in my heart, though. This is what he brought me today:

A brand spanking new cutting mat! (Do you like how I put my knife there, so you would know what it is?)

I’ve been cutting on the same battered – and very small – mat for years. It’s crusted with paint and medium and who knows what else. There are chunks taken out of it because it’s been used so much. So it was high time for a new mat. Bonus: because this isn’t that horrible dark green, I’ll actually be able to see the lines I’m cutting!

Cut Paper Father’s Day Card

14 Jun

This is one of the only times that I haven’t been home to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad. (Las Vegas suddenly feels impossibly far away!)

I wanted to send him something kind of special – but he’s the kind of guy who just buys stuff when he needs/wants it. And he’s definitely not the kind of guy who wants sports gear (he still uses a weight set that is at least 30 years old), or movies – and none of that is special, anyway.

But art… art is special.

Since I’ve been experimenting a lot with cut paper lately, I thought it might be kind of cool to make a card for him (with the added benefit of avoiding the card racks at Target). The beach has been a special place for my family since before I was born. At least twice a year (Spring Break and Thanksgiving) we all gathered, even when my sister and I moved away. And what is my dad’s favorite thing to do at the beach? Fish. Well, it’s kind of pretend fishing. If he puts the poles in the water, he can sit down on the beach and smoke his cigar in peace.

All of that was the inspiration for this card:


It started with a simple sketch. I love really graphic, bold shapes, so I chose to incorporate those as much as possible – as in the clouds. You can see that I’ve placed little X’s on all the spots that are going to be cut out. Without this, I am a lost paper cutter – once you get down close and see only lines, it is incredibly easy for your eyes to shift, and then it’s all over.


And here is the piece halfway through. With my first ever paper cut, I learned that you must start at the center and work outwards, especially if you have delicate linework. Otherwise, the movement of your hand back and forth across the paper turns those lines to mush. (We don’t talk about that experience anymore.)

This was the end product. I broke out my watercolors and spent a few hours (yes, hours!) creating the perfect color and texture for the background, which also forms the rest of the card.


But, of course it needed an envelope. A sheet of vellum coated with matte gel medium turned out to be just about perfect (although you can see here my distaste for actually measuring things). I used a piece of colored tracing paper to cover the card inside the envelope, both for extra protection and to preserve the surprise!

Cut Paper Birthday Card

2 Jun

I’ve posted this in a couple other places already, so some of you have seen it. This is the birthday card I made for my husband this year, in it’s almost-finished state. It still needed a bit of cleanup and to have the backing attached, but you get the idea.