Friday, April 4, 2014

Scherenschnitte and Wycinanki

The last months I have been obsessed with cutting paper patterns.   Scherenschnitte has been like oxygen and I started cutting 3 or 4 patterns a day.  Finally I went looking for advanced patterns and ended up at a website called   It was hard to choose from the many patterns offered but finally I purchased "Sheer Pleasure" designed by Alison Cosgrove Tanner and "Wycinanki" by Susanne R Cook-Greuter. 

Wycinanki is the Polish term for paper cutting.  I haven't quite figured out what makes a design "Polish" but the designs tend to be brightly colored and incorporate birds especially roosters.  Also one Polish paper cutting style is to layer paper shapes slightly smaller and different colors on the design.  This form of Wycinanki is similar to some of my paper art so I look forward to trying it.  So far I have cut 84 Scherenschnitte and Wycinanki.  Some small cutting and huge cuttings but most of them fit on a 8.5 x 11 page.  Below are some of the most recent cutting I've done.

This is all that I could salvage from my first Wycinanki style cutting.  The vase of flowers normally sits inside a larger circle.  This is going to end up as a card decoration.

This was another failed attempt at a Wycinanki style cutting.  At least I was able to get through the next circle in the design.  At first I thought this was a pansy pattern but after looking at the buds realized it is a primitive rose.

This is an almost acceptable cutting.  This was a Wycinanki style cutting about 8 inches in diameter of carnations.  Unfortunately the second to the last cut left a whole in the bowl pattern.  Almost broke my heart.  This took 10 hours to cut because I stop and stretch every few cuts.

Center detail of carnation cutting.
Detail of outer edge.
Finally a finished piece of Wycinanki style paper cutting.  This piece was under 6 inches in diameter.  This one was a little easier because it is more dense then the other designs.  One difficulty when cutting away most of the paper is that the remaining piece can stretch and eventually tear.  Another problem I ran into was with the parchment paper.  Parchment can actually flake tearing just a layer of the paper.  Really strange!  As for the flowers I have no idea what they are but I really like the design.

Close up of Wycinanki style paper cutting.
This lovely heart cutting is from the patterns called "Sheer Delight" which is a Scherenschnitte pattern.  This piece is 7 x 5.5 inches which is 20% larger then the original pattern.  When starting a cutting that is difficult I find enlarging the pattern helpful.  This allows me to determine the most difficult parts of a pattern which is not always obvious.  I had to cut this enlarged pattern 3 times before I cut it properly.

Close up of heart cutting.  The flowers surrounding the swans were not the most difficult cuts.  If you look under the swans the lace v is actually a series of tiny swans.  The hidden animals and flowers that make up the lacy designs in Scherenschnitte is what I love about this cutting style.  It reminds me of a kaleidoscopic image.

Design 4.25 x 5.5 inches.
Finally I cut the pattern without enlargements and it came out beautifully.  Only one flower lost a petal other wise it was a great cutting.  Unfortunately a piece of paper got under the sun while I was taking pictures.  The piece is really finished.

Close up of heart.

Design 8 x 9 inches.
Paper cutting number 83.  This piece was a real challenge.  It was too large to increase to practice but it still took only 3 tries.  Unfortunately this cut tore twice but was repairable.  This lace cutting is so light it can barely be felt in my hand.  The design is made up of tulips in the center, dividing the image into quarters.  Around the center are geese.  Four trees grow from the center and leafy branches spread out adding to the lacy effect.  At the top of each tree is a sun or moons.  Between the trees are birds with ribbons draped with dangling hearts.  When I first saw this pattern I didn't think I would ever be able to make it.  But somehow I managed to make this elaborate cutting and move up to advanced cutting in less then 3 months.
Close up of center.

Close up of 1 quarter of the design.

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