Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paper Cutting Traditions

      Papercutting is the art of cutting paper designs. The art has evolved uniquely all over the world to adopt to different cultural styles.
      The oldest surviving paper cut out is a symmetrical circle from the 6th century found in Xinjiang China. By the eighth or ninth century papercutting appeared in West Asia and in Turkey in the 16th century. Within a century, papercutting was being done in most of middle Europe.
      Jianzhi (剪紙), is a traditional style of papercutting in China. Jianzhi has been practiced in China since at least the 6th century A.D. Jianzhi has a number of distinct uses in Chinese culture, almost all of which are for health, prosperity or decorative purposes. Red is the most commonly used color. Jianzhi cuttings often have a heavy emphasis on Chinese characters symbolizing the Chinese Zodiac animals. Although paper cutting is popular around the globe, only the Chinese paper cut was listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, which was in 2009. The Chinese paper-cutting was recognized and listed because it has a history of more than 1500 years and it represents cultural values of the people throughout China.
A Filipino vendor selling Parols.
      Indonesia traditional art influenced by China art in some part in Indonesia. Batik is Indonesian traditional art and paper cutting can be combined perfectly; the intricate details which is batik uniqueness is the most beautiful part in Indonesia paper cutting which displayed in double glasses frame. The artist may choose only simple frame profile to expose the intricate detail of Batik.
      There are a number of Philippine crafts outlets that utilize paper cutting. During Filipino Christmas, the parol (a traditional star-shaped lantern) is embellished with colored paper cut into various decorative forms to create floral designs, pom-poms and “tails”. There is also the art of pabalat (sweet wrappers), where colored paper is elaborately cut paper and used to sheathe pastillas de leche (carabao milk pastilles) and other traditional sweets. Paper cutting is also involved in the creation of banderitas that feature prominently in fiesta décor; these are elaborate and plain-cut paper streamers strung over streets.
      Sanjhi is the Indian art of paper cutting. The cut paper is usually placed on the floor and colors are filled in to make Rangoli.     
      Kirie is the Japanese art of paper cutting, while Kirigami, also called Monkiri, involves cutting and folding paper.
      Papercutting has been a common Jewish art form since the Middle Ages. In 1345, Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben Ardutiel, finding that his ink had frozen, continued to write the manuscript by cutting the letters into the paper. By about the 17th century, papercutting had become a popular form for small religious artifacts such as mizrachs and Shavuot decorations. In the 20th century, the art of Jewish papercutting was revived in Israel. Today it is most commonly used for mizrachs and ketubot.
A traditional silhouette portrait
of the late 18th century
      Papel picado is the Mexican art of paper cutting. Tissue paper is cut into intricate designs with scissors or small, sharp chisels; this technique is frequently used to produce decorative banners.
      Silhouette can refer to the art of cutting outlines or portraits out of black paper. Modern-day papercutters typically follow one or more of the "traditional" styles listed above, while others have begun to expand the art into new styles, motifs, and designs. Contemporary papercutting is also sometimes associated with the art of stenciling, itself being derived from techniques used in graffiti art. The use of hand-cut stencils in graffiti art has received international attention in recent years due in part to the artist Banksy.
      Wycinanki ([vɨt͡ɕiˈnaŋkʲi]) in Poland or Vytynanky (Витина́нки) in Ukraine is a Polish, Belarusan and Ukrainian version of the art form of papercutting.
      Historical evidence suggests that vytynanky began to be made in Ukraine at the end of the fifteenth- early sixteenth century, but it took quite some time before they became an integral part of the decorative arts practiced at the grass roots level During the nineteenth century decorative paper cutouts spread all across the Ukrainian countryside. The word itself, vytynanky, gained currency in the early twentieth century, but there were many other, regional words that were used too — stryhuntsi, khrestyky or kvity to mention but a few. The vytynanky shapes were of many kinds and represented stylized figures of people, animals and plants. Ethnographers and art historians began to study the art of vytynanky, and artists began to seek inspiration for their art in vytynanky. Articles and essays were published, vytynanky began to be collected. Vytynanky were displayed at exhibitions of the Ukrainian decorative and applied arts alongside traditional pottery, embroidery, rugs and other items. Vytynanky, which were made for the occasions of religious feasts and holidays, were more decorative than the ones used for everyday decoration. Christmas and Easter called for vytynanky in the shapes of angels, churches or even whole evangelical scenes to be pasted prominently on the walls. Marriages saw vytynanky in the shapes of doves, flowers, or the ones that formed “trees of life.”
      Polish wycinanki became a popular folk craft in the mid-1800s. Wycinanki originated with shepherds cutting designs out of tree bark and leather. Colorful wycinanki were pasted on furniture or roof beams as decoration, hung in windows, and given as gifts. Wycinanki vary by region. For example, wycinanki created in the Kurpie region are typically all one color, while wycinanki from the Łowicz region are multicolored. Techniques include cutting, clipping, punching, tearing, and carving of paper, as well as nalepianki in which multiple layers are glued together. Subject matter includes peacocks, roosters, and other birds; circular or star-shaped medallions (gwiazdy); flowers; and annual holidays such as Easter and Christmas. In some towns and villages competitions evolved to create the most beautiful wycinanki. Traditionally done for relaxation in rural Poland, the techniques were passed down through generations, with new themes and ideas developing as the papercuttings became more detailed and intricate.
      Scherenschnitte ([ˈʃeːʁənˌʃnɪtə]), which means "scissor cuts" in German, is the art of papercutting design. The art work often has symmetry within the design, and common forms include silhouettes, valentines, and love letters. The art tradition was founded in Switzerland and Germany in the 16th century, and was brought to Colonial America in the 18th century by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania.

Studios: * Su Blackwell * Diana Bryan * Julie Paschkis * Alisa Lahti * Peter Callesen * Laura Cooperman * Andrea Dezso * Martha Link Walsh Gallery * Joe Blog * Helen Musselwhite * Hina Aoyama * Emma van LeestBeatrice Coron * Elsa Mora * Rob Ryan * Made by Julene * Carol Gearing *
Paper Artists at Etsy: rural pearl by angie pickman *
Paper Artists: Bert Simons * Haruki Nakamura * Eric Joisel * Brian Chan * Brian Dettmer * Ingrid Siliakus * Sher Christopher * Peter Callesen * Elsa Mora * Su Blackwell * Annie Vought * Shin TanakaMark Sky * Richard Sweeney * Chris Natrop * Jen Stark * Simon Schubert * Emma Van Leest * Daniel Grein * Elodole * Helen Musselwhite * Carlos N. Monila * Olafur Eliasson * Jolis Paons * Aoyama Hina * Yulia Brodskaya * Jennifer Khoshbin *
Scherenschnitte Artists: Mary Olive Jones * Beatrice Straubhaar, Ernst Oppliger, Ueli Hofer and Elisabeth Bottesi-Fischer *
Scherenschnitte Patterns, Video, and Ideas: Scherenschnitte on Easter Eggs *

"This is a time lapse video of myself drawing and cutting out, with my x-acto knife, a picture of a little bird sitting on a tea cup." Angie Pickman

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