Papercuttings from around the world… Part 3!

To continue our papercutting adventure…

The second day of Collection was FULL! Right after breakfast, Dena Levie introduced us to Judaic papercutting. Jewish papercuts go back for many centuries, but the art was nearly lost due to the Holocaust. Since then, however, papercut artists have worked very hard to pass on their skills to younger generations. The pieces they create are very beautiful and full of Biblical symbolism. I especially loved the ketubot… marriage certificates were also very important to the Pennsylvania Germans, and they’re a mainstay of our business. It was neat to see how Dena incorporated each couples’ interests in their special papercuttings!

After that we went to our first official workshop! I had a very hard time choosing which ones to go to when signing up for Collection… but the ones I got in were great. And so were the ones I didn’t get in. We all stuck our heads in the other classes whenever possible! My first workshop was on the Polish Tree of Life, taught by Susan Throckmorton. We were given some very bright, shiny, colored paper, and Susan showed us how to cut out a rough design, and then embellish it with little snips around the edges. Here’s my first attempt… I did it with very little pencil sketching, and ended up cutting a weird-shaped hole out of the center. It was supposed to be a heart blooming from a vine, but something happened.

Beside it is the pack of paper we were given. Papercutting is so popular in Poland, these pads of paper are sold in grocery stores, much like construction paper here in the USA. This type of papercut is called a “leluje”… it’s pronounced just like “alelujah,” except without the beginning syllable. Although there are many variations possible, each one has a tree shape, and usually roosters under the tree and birds in the tree. Artists take great liberties with these, though, and you can find all sorts of critters or people under and in the tree!

I’m going to stop there… our day was only half way through, but the second half was right up my alley! To be continued!

2 thoughts on “Papercuttings from around the world… Part 3!

  1. Oh, wow, I’d love to practice some with my kids. They are 8 and down. Do you recommend any books/helps/paper? I think we’re close to you–in north east MD.

  2. Hi Deb!

    We’re not too far away! It’s been a while, but my Mom & me and the girls have gone antiquing in North East!

    I just found a website with some Polish wycinanki patterns, and one is a “Tree of Life”…

    The Polish paper was very thin, and white on one side. My first thought would be to try origami paper, or possibly some pretty scrapbooking paper. With just one fold (folding the paper in half) it should be okay. If you do multi-folds, like snowflakes or stars, try to find the thinnest paper you can. And use strong scissors!

    I’m still searching for other patterns and such… I’ll pass on whatever I find!

    Kim 🙂

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