Obsessions Book - Papercut

Project V - API
Book of Design Obsessions
Jen McKnight
 
For this project we were to collect examples of design work we were attracted to throughout the semester, then pin point a recurring theme in our interests to create a book out of. My obsession ended up being papercutting. The following is the essay I wrote that included is in the introduction of my book, which I entitles "Small Worlds." Each chapter focuses on one artist, and the chapter pages are of my own design and creation with paper, reflecting the artist's works. I used a Cricut cutting machine to help expidite the papercutting process.
 
SMALL WORLDS
 
The art of papercutting has been around as long as paper has existed to cut. With examples from as early as the 6th century, this art form can indicate many different things for many different cultures. Each creation made with this method tends to be intricate, delicate, and inherently unique. And to add to its universal nature, almost everyone at some point in their life has made their own paper construction, whether it be a folded snowflake design or Valentine’s Day card, or perhaps something more involved. Papercut is a simple idea that can be used to make complicated pieces of art and design. Familiar and inclusive, it gives leeway
to a more organic design. 
Like almost all children, when my younger sister and I were little we spent a lot of time in our imaginations; and in our imaginations, we would pretend to be very, very small. So small we could sit inside of a thimble, or kayak across a puddle. This lead to the creation of intricate scenes of gardens and magical forests. We would draw twisting paths of vines and flowers in ink, and then cut the different pieces up to create layers of greenery over which our tiny imaginary selves could look. We would end up small worlds of fairylands to let our imaginations run freely. This was my first introduction to crafting with paper. 
As I got older, my interests grew and developed as I was introduced to paper cuts of varying styles– not just creating cuts from plain paper on plain paper, but other mediums cut from their backing and put into a new paper environment. Real life layering, as opposed to the digital layering in InDesign I would
come to know (and love). 
Now, the hand-crafted feel (whether or not it is real paper, or just digitally emulated) of papercutting always catches my eye. It stands out in a sea of ultra sleek design; a tactile breath of fresh air. Digital media isn’t just everywhere, it is everything. So any time I can feel and touch a piece of work, or at least easily let my mind imagine what the texture of the paper feels like, my eyes jump directly to it. In my Junior Seminar photography project, for an entire semester I combined journalistic style photography with reductive papercutting to illustrate how modern technology, specifically phones, eliminates one from their own surroundings. Unintentionally, this just emphasizes even more so why I am enticed by this style of design. 
That is my obsession. Papercutting. It gives freedom to create by ultimately giving the artist a rather limited object to work with. Creativity is born out of the need to problem solve, and with a material that can create lace-like paperwork or clunking swashes of rough canvas, any designer can forge a wide and diverse range of works from simply papercutting. 
Rob Ryan explained my fascination best. “I think that the current artistic revival and interest in working with cut paper stems from a certain type of artist. One who loves to draw and also loves shape and solidity, but who does not want to be tied down by the weight of sculpting or the complexity of painting. An artist who wants to freely explore a material so light and fragile and easy to work with, with which she or he can create small worlds for us as light as our lives are themselves.”
 
 
Obsessions Book - Papercut
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100
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Published:

Obsessions Book - Papercut

Project for AP1. Create a book about your design obsession.
4
100
0
Published: