Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's craft: Scherenschnitte

"Scherenschnitte: 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."

During my trip to Holden Village this July, I got to learn the exciting art of scherenschnitte. This craft is simple enough to do just about anywhere, yet you can really get creative and detailed if you're looking for a challenge!

Materials you will need:
Scherenschnitte pattern (on white paper, preferably)
X-acto knife
Colored paper (thin)
Scrapbook paper
Masking tape
Rotary mat (the kind used in quilting)
Fine detail scissors
Glue stick
and perhaps a few band-aids...

Let's get started...

Once you have decided on a pattern, use the masking tape to affix it to your colored sheet of paper below. This will keep your design from slipping while you cut. For my first piece, I chose a girl riding her bike...perfect for summertime!

When you start cutting, be sure to start from the inside cuts, and work outward. This will allow the masking tape to keep your design in place until the very end. Also, the knife cuts best when you cut towards there will be a lot of rotating of your design while you work.

This design doesn't have too many small details to work with, but the thin lines right next to one another were a little tricky. Make sure you don't damage your white pattern, because when you are done, you can use that for designs also:



Now that you're done, handle your design very carefully. If parts have ripped during the process, don't worry, they can always be glued onto the paper when you are done. Find a background that accents your piece the way you like. Heavy scrapbooking material works very well, and is readily available.

When you've found your background paper, carefully spread glue with the glue-stick on the back of your scherenschnitte piece. Be sure to get all the little pieces if you have fine detail work. Then carefully lay your design on your backing paper, and place another scrap sheet of paper on top of your design. This allows you to put pressure on your work, without the risk of damaging your design. Once you have pushed down on your entire design, lift the paper, and you will have your finished scherenschnitte piece!

Here are some other pictures of scherenschnitte cutting in action!

The colored paper looks great mounted on white...

And the original white pattern is stunning on blue!

The detail scissors help when cutting out larger areas.

I think this would be a great Christmas tree ornament!

Same design on different papers...

My second design, I loved this piece!

It's not mounted yet in this picture, but I was just trying to see which background I liked better, the black...

Or the white...

In the end, we all had a lovely time learning a new (but very old!) craft! Here are some friends with their finished works of art!

Ready to do your own scherenschnitte? Many patterns can be found online, and this blog has some amazing ones that I want to try out:

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." -Francis Bacon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The lazy cherry-picking days of summer...

When the dead of winter sets in and the thermometer drops below 0, let me remember these warm lazy days of summer, when the cherries drip from the trees in our orchard...

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.  ~Sam Keen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July trip to Holden Village, Washington

    Have you ever wondered what society was like, long before strip-malls, carbon footprints, and slow-food existed? Well the closest I can imagine is a quaint little place called Holden Village. Perhaps you haven't seen the road signs pointing the way, and that's because there are no road signs leading this fact, there isn't even a road that will get you to Holden Village. First you have to take a boat ride 16 miles across one of the deepest lakes in North America, Lake Chelan.

Then when the boat drops you off, the faint of heart will be clutching their bags tightly as an antique school bus drives them up 11 miles of switchbacks. I mean switchbacks... But never fear, at least you will be riding in style...

Any hearty soul who makes it this far will be applauded as they step off the bus, greeted by a menagerie of villagers, who have gathered to see who has come to their village this day. On the day that we arrived, Holden was holding their annual 4th of July parade. The entire village dressed up in various attire, and stormed the main street, throwing candy to the young and old. Some made their own parade floats, while others used barely-running snowcats, reminders of the history of this place.

Why a village? you might ask...Let's see how well I can explain this....Holden Village was originally a bustling mining town during the 30's and 40's. After the price of copper dropped, the village became abandoned, and only a few caretakers stayed behind. In the late 60's, the mining company made a deal with the Lutheran church, and the entire village was sold for $1.00. Yep...a whole dollar. Since then, the village has changed in many ways, but still retains much of its' heritage. Villagers sleep in the same lodges where minors used to rest their weary heads, and all eat in the same dining hall. At night one can have fun bowling in the 2 lane bowling alley (but you have to go put the pins back up by yourself). Scoops is the ice cream shop, open each afternoon at 3:00, right when the hottest part of the day makes you wonder if air conditioning was ever really invented (because there is none in the ice either).

This trip back in time is a yearly event for me, at least when life affords me the time to step back and relax. Of all the activities one can partake in at Holden, my favorite by far is the Craft Cave.....built into the bottom of one of the old mining lodges, it stays cool even during the hottest months of the year....come take a look...

Down in the craft cave lives every type of artistic expression possible. From giant kilns running off of the energy of the local stream, to walls full of weaving yarn, ready to be put in the loom.

This place has it all.

And what inspires all this creativity in a place that time seems to have forgotten? Well I'm sure you'll get a different answer for each person you ask, but it's hard to deny that the beauty and intimacy of the mountains might have something to do with it.

I loved finding this little quote, which someone had artfully framed with woven needles from a Ponderosa pine...

It reminds me that I should always work with joy, and never hesitate to stop, and enjoy the beauty around me.