Art + Design

The Art of Paper Cutting

When I saw the cover of one of our Spring 11 catalogs I did a double-take. Is it a drawing, an illustration, or a photograph? I was proven wrong on all counts. It’s actually a 3-dimensional paper craft, taken from the recently released book Paper Cutting – Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft.

The book is a gorgeous compilation of artworks made (almost always entirely) out of paper cut in the most intricate, innovative, and beautiful ways. Having long adored Matisse’s “gouaches découpés,” and more recently Isabelle de Borchgrave’s unreal couture recreations made entirely out of paper, it’s great to see that there are many artists such as Nikki McClure and Rob Ryan currently working in this insanely versatile medium.

Have you ever made artwork that is specifically paper-based? If you have, can you link in the comments below to some of your work? Leave us a comment and you will be eligible to win a copy of Paper Cutting that I’ll be giving away to a random lucky commentator next week.

Peter Perez
Associate Director, Marketing

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39 Comments

  • kelli August 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

    My son (5) and I are enjoying origami together. We are working on making polyhedrons out of multiple pieces of paper. So far we have made a 30-piece polyhedron and we're working up to a 90-piece. We also used architect's vellum sheets to make a really large cube out of 6 folded pieces of paper (it's about 1 foot square).

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  • Carly August 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

    This looks amazing! Would be a lovely gift for an amateur paper cutter 😉

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  • A Mom August 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

    nice site!BTW added you. pls do the same, thanks!

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  • susan hosking August 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Absolutely stunning!

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  • jacqueline August 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I haven't done paper cutting yet, but I would LOVE too. The Alice piece is amazing.

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  • katrina August 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

    last year for christmas, i started the 'office supplies' series. i wish i had the pictures, but the first piece was a sheet of copy paper cut with office scissors into the silhouette of a tree, complete with squirrel and nuts, and then colored with sharpie before mounting with glue stick to a piece of colored copy paper. it was both frustrating to use the cheap paper and giant scissors and gratifying when the result was better than i had hoped, quite wonderful even…

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  • tati August 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    The only papercrafting I do on a regular basis are snowflakes in the winter for decorating at work or home. I use metallic and/or glittery coated origami paper–it makes them sparkle 🙂

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  • Misty Sanico August 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    These are so beautiful and a great idea for a book.

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  • Palespectre August 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I've always loved paper cutting (or anything to do with paper for that matter).. It's probably one of my frustrations. Fascinated with it endlessly.. It would be a delight to have this book!

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  • Jackie August 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The book looks unbelievable! I love papercutting (to look at, I've never done it)!!

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  • Janel August 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    These are all so amazing, especially the tea party out of the book. Definitely makes me want to get out my Exacto knife and try some paper cutting myself!

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  • Michelle August 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    These are some amazing photos; I have always been so impressed by paper artwork. My grandmother and I share an admiration for these creations, and it has become my tradition to give her a beautiful pop-up book at Christmas. Maybe I should branch out to books that discuss techniques used in paper art as well… thanks for posting this!

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  • Lyndsay August 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I made this in a class I took in college on installation with Washi. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2JmVfGDpJs5… I am totally obsessed with all things paper. This book looks wonderful.

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  • Cynthia August 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    We had the opportunity to make a few cut paper projects in design school. I loved it. We only had one class where we worked on it and, then of course, moved on to more digital work. Sad as that may be. These are lovely and make me want to pick up my exacto knife and go to town!

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  • Candice August 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I'm a huge fan of paper art and I even recognize some of the artists in the this post. Quilling is on my list of "Things I Must Learn To Do".

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  • Melanie August 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful book!

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  • Kim McM August 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I would love to win this book. When I was little, I used to dream of having so much paper that it would reach the ceiling of my bedroom. Kind of a strange dream, I'll admit, but I loved paper then and still do. I make lots of things out of paper- snowflakes for the windows in the winter to name one- the secret is to start with a circle then fold it in half, then fold the half circle into thirds, and your snowflake will have six sides, just like real ones. Sorry I don't have any photos to link to….. I hope my comment still counts. Pick me!

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  • Stacy August 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Those are beautiful – I don't have any links to my papercraft but I make handmade books…

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  • Marie August 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I used to do a lot of quilling, a craft using paper. I hope to get back into it one day. Sorry no digital photos. These pieces are stunning!

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  • Deb August 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    This looks like such fun! My daughter enjoys kirigami as well as origami and is working her way up in difficulty level. I think this book is a must have for her.

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  • Ana Cossermelli August 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    This is such a lovely post! I have so much admiration for paper-cutting artists and their work. Here is my paper-related project, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Book: http://miscelana.net/#185896/sgt-pepper-s-lonely-… I developed a pop-up book of Beatles songs as my final project for my graphic design degree. It was quite a year of learning about pop-up books, their mechanics and, most importantly, their history. It was a lot of work, but I would do it all over again!

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  • Peter Taylor August 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    This looks wonderful – I need a copy. My good friend Sara Burgess does amazing papercutting http://www.whitepaperspress.com/?portfolio=art
    I have a new book coming out early 2012, 'Calligraphy for Greetings Cards and Scrapbooking', pub. GMC Publications, which will have a sculpted paper trail on the cover, next to the first letter of the title, like an illuminated manuscript leafy trail, and instructions in the text. I'm also hoping to include a sample of Sara's work.

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  • Carol August 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Inspiring designs! It always amazes me how a simple piece of paper can be transformed into such a variety of artwork with endless meanings. Great resource for my own art practice as I also love to incorporate paper and traditional Chinese paper-cutting techniques into contemporary context.

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  • Erin August 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I'm working on a book-themed engagement party right now. I'm playing around with all sorts of paper crafts!

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  • YvonneJ August 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. I especially like the white on white sculptures.

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  • nysa August 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I am an avid paper crafter and book maker and would love to win a copy of this book!

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  • Cindy Franseen August 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Looks like a wonderful book! The 3-D stuff is amazing!!
    I've been doing papercutting for about 5 years…and i find the process to be so meditative.
    I've recently opened a shop on Etsy…check out this link to see some of my cuttings. http://www.quietdove.etsy.com

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  • monty August 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I'm not talented enough alas…that Alice in Wonderland example is AMAZING though!

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  • Gill August 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Wow!
    I'd love to have a go at this!

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  • MarciaW August 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I would enjoy doing some paper crafting using this book. I’ve purchased three art works that really like — one looks like a mini quilt. It would be fun to attempt one of my own. Thanks for the chance.

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  • ginigin August 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Beautiful book, please enter me, would love to be inspired. I have done so much with paper, from pinatas to mail art collage with envies. You can see some of the latter at http://www.inklings.aslum.net/blog/?p=106, my long neglected blog.

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  • Peter August 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    lana, thanks for sharing that link above – there are some incredible creations featured.

    And likewise Peter Taylor – I especially love this stunning one: http://www.whitepaperspress.com/wp-content/upload

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  • blythe hill August 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Wow! what a great sampling of contemporary paper cutting. I love the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of a finished piece of paper cut art. Stunning.

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  • Molly August 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Beautiful! I paper cutting. I have a whole box filled with paper at home. I've done a couple paper projects, even a paper stop motion…but never finished. Anyway, "Madagascar" and "Bed Monsters" on my website are both paper projects. http://mollykmcintyre.com/

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  • Peter August 11, 2011 at 9:19 am

    …and this lovely paper cutting being used for the design of a new bag from @katespadeny just in: http://ow.ly/60QVA

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  • TryonCreek August 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Papercutting is an art form whose time has come to be in the spotlight. I was first turned on to this incredible medium in China (where it started) and while we were there adopting our baby daughter, we picked up a number of beautiful papercut pieces for her hope chest…. Will look forward to seeing this book!

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  • Peter August 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    …and the lucky randomly selected winner of a copy of "Paper Cutting" is jacqueline! Thank you everyone for your fabulous feedback, links, and comments relating to the wonderful world of artistic creation through paper.
    Enjoy this link that was sent to me this morning: http://cargocollective.com/feelgoodfactory#738286

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  • Christy August 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I've never made any paper-based artwork myself, but I find it, AND this book to be fascinating! I'd love to win a copy!

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