Baby, It’s Cold Outside…or Scherenschnitte Happinesss

I can hear the wind howling just outside the window – boy, am I ever glad I’m indoors… I’ve been constantly on the road for the past few weeks, planning and implementing events as part of my day job. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted, and it’s only going to get worse in the next few weeks, with eight (yes, 8!) more events before the end of February.

Last weekend was my birthday, and unfortunately I was too tired to truly enjoy it. I had travelled extensively during that week, and was still trying to recover from the jetlag of the European trip. I still enjoyed my birthday (B. and I spent the whole day wandering stores and shopping malls, something we hadn’t done since forever), although I didn’t have any energy to do much of anything.

So today, after driving B. to the airport early this morning (he’s on his way to Mexico, lucky man!), I spent the day indulging myself. After watching several of Suzi Blu’s videos for inspiration, I did some sketching, something I hadn’t done in ages. If you’re ever stuck in a rut, visit Suzi Blu – she’ll set you on the path to artistic nirvana.

After that, I worked on a handmade photo album I’m making as a thank-you gift. I hope it turns out all right; I have a clear vision in my head of what I want it to be…

A long nap, followed by a long, hot shower, helped restore my energy enough that I could start work on my latest obsession: Scherenschnitte. What is scherenschnitte, you ask?

Scherenschnitte is the Swiss/German art of papercutting. I discovered this beautiful artform during my trip to Switzerland in December. While I vaguely recalled having seen photos of these papercuttings in the past, I had never really paid them any attention, until I saw a few hanging in a cafe in Gstaad. The intricacy and delicacy of these pieces was absolutely stunning. This is what I’m talking about. A few days later, I bought these scherenschnitte cuttings at a tiny street market in Gstaad:

scherenschnitte1.jpg   scherenschnitte2.jpg

Of course, the photos don’t do the pieces justice (I really suck at taking photos). The pieces are quite small, approximately 3″X3″, because that’s all I could afford! Everything in Switzerland is expensive, and artwork is no exception…

Upon my return to Canada, I vowed to learn more about scherenschnitte, and researched it extensively on the Internet. It’s funny how when you open your eyes to something, kismet intervenes. As I explained earlier, I had never paid any attention to papercuttings until this recent trip. All of a sudden, I kept seeing papercuttings everywhere:

– Victoria Magazine has an article in their January/February 2008 edition on paper artistry

– While browsing the aisles of an Indigo bookstore last week, I came across this book and immediately bought it (although my book has a different cover)

– Yesterday, while visiting the Craft Magazine blog, I came across the work of Kako Ueda, an amazing papercutting artist

A few days ago, I even attempted my first ever papercutting piece:

papercutting1.jpg

The pattern was taken from the book I recently bought, and I’m quite happy with the results… Feeling confident, today I chose another pattern from the same book, a much larger and more complex pattern this time. I spent a great amount of time copying the pattern on tracing paper. The only paper that I had on hand large enough for this particular pattern was a roll of kraft paper. Unfortunately I discovered that kraft paper doesn’t cut so easily and I was really struggling with the detail work. I soon gave up because I was tiring very quickly and was afraid I was either going to ruin the piece or hurt myself seriously with the craft knife… I may pick it up again when I’m not so tired and cranky…

I spent the rest of the day playing on my new laptop (which B. bought for me a few days ago!), watching t.v., eating pizza and taking a relaxing bubble bath. It was a day of complete, but necessary, indulgence…

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