Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Art of Scherenschnitte

This was a rather insomnious week, and as it's somewhat less than satisfying continuing with one's typical 2:00 a.m. routine of surveying eBay for new acquisitions when they'll have to be packed up in a few months, the early sleepless morning hours were spent checking Blogger Stats instead. Which, as you can probably imagine, is a lot less entertaining than trying to find something new to collect.

In addition to the usual referring URL's, there were two from sites never before seen. The insomniac  didn't bother clicking on the one from livepornofeeds.com but, being the inquisitive person she is, did investigate the other one and discovered Doppelgänger - a brand new blog written by artist Danielle Luckenbill Mock of Papercuttings, who creates traditional and contemporary scherenschnitte. The insomniac  would like to express her gratitude to Danielle for unknowingly assisting her with a topic for this week's post - because up until late yesterday, it was definitely leaning heavily towards an announcement of last week's Giveaway winners and nothing more.

Scherenschnitte, meaning “scissor cuts” in German, is the traditional art of papercutting, and originated in Switzerland and Germany in the 16th century. It was brought to Colonial America in the 18th century by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania.  

Some of the insomniac's  favourite examples of scherenschnitte are the silhouettes of Lotte Reiniger, who created animated films of traditional fairytales using the technique - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel and Thumbelina being a small sampling. While not as intricate as more traditional scherenschnitte, the insomniac  finds these very appealing - probably due in part to their purple backgrounds.




The lack of a purple background is more than compensated for by the inclusion of bats. And a spider. And a skeleton ...

Google research says it's from the Frog Prince,
but that looks more like Puss in Boots ...

One mentioned a scherenschnitte card purchased in an Austrian folk art shop last year which will one day be framed, and Danielle asked to see a picture of it. One thought it wiser to share it before the move, since there's always a slight chance it could be mistakenly filed away with the income tax receipts, never to be seen again ...

Nach Original Scherenschnitte von
Eva Tornatzky

The insomniac  is greatly looking forward to future posts and seeing more of Danielle's art, and would also like to inquire whether she does skulls. And ravens. Because she'd like to purchase one of each, so the scherenschnitte owl won't feel so bereft hanging on the wall by himself. In the new house. If we ever find one. So obviously there's no rush, Danielle.

Of course, after Googling scherenschnitte, the insomniac  ran across this book which is now on her Amazon Wishlist. It's probably not even necessary to mention she has no intention whatsoever of purchasing the book ...

No. Intention. Whatsoever.

Congratulations to the winner's of last week's Giveaway - V'kronia V., winner of Gothic & Lolita and Laura Morrigan, winner of 1000 Steampunk Creations. The insomniac  hopes you'll both spend many enjoyable sleepless nights with the new additions to your libraries.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

42 comments:

  1. I love Papercuts... There's a Music-Video of IAMX (my favorite music-goup)that was made in paper cutting style... so beautiful...

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    1. And the insomniac  loves your creation, Ms. Papercut, too! Thanks for the tip on the music video, Madame Kismet - will definitely check that out! :D

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  2. These are so beautiful. I used to have a book on traditional papercuts, I have no idea where it disappeared to . . . aside from these type of very elaborate ones, it also has simpler long ones for taping along the edges of shelves.

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    1. Based strictly on her own experiences lately, whenever you decide to move is most likely when you'll rediscover your book! But what a novel idea to tape them along a shelf. On eBay late last night (it was a reward - for finishing the post - don't judge) there were some antique silver snuff boxes with scherenschnitte on the lid that were quite beautiful. And nope, didn't bid on any! LOL

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  3. Although I've never seen the word Scherenschnitte before, I have seen scissor cuts and as the above photos demonstrate, they can be quite artistic and beautiful. I am wondering though, if that book on Pennsylvania Dutch Halloween Scherenschnitte, which the Insomniac has no intention of purchasing, might already be on its way to the Gothic Mansion.

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    1. One can't even begin to imagine how much patience is required to cut out something that detailed ... it is beautiful, isn't it?

      Believe it or not, Nightwind, the book in question is NOT already on its way to the Gothic Mansion. But that's the beauty of an Amazon Wishlist - it will still be there waiting patiently for the insomniac's  return, after she's moved and is ready to start filling up the bookshelves again! ;o)

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  4. These are beautiful, especially the ones with purple backgrounds ;)

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    1. Yeah, those are the best - right Ms. Misantropia? ;o)

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  5. Thank you so very much for mentioning me in your post!!! You have made me feel so very welcomed into the blog community by doing so, I truly appreciate it! And I must tell you I have that book! My black-tinged heart beat so fast when I first saw it I just had to have it. The imagery in it is fantastic, you won't be disappointed when you purchase it.

    I would be honored to do some cuttings for you! As a matter of fact, I have some ravens I had been dabbling with for a literary series idea I had (the first being connected to Master Poe, obviously). I will be sure to add those to my lists so that gorgeous owl, when hung in your new home, is graced with some partners in crime. ;)

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    1. One remembers only too well how difficult it was the first four months of writing this blog, when nobody commented and it felt like such a waste of time. There were most definitely occasions when there were thoughts of abandoning it altogether. But there are so many lovely people in this blogging community - darkly inclined and otherwise - that she is extremely happy she kept going! So welcome!! :D

      The insomniac  has mixed emotions on hearing the book is fantastic, because she really did have good intentions of not purchasing it until after the move. But it's probably quite small and lightweight, right? Probably fit into a moving box without much difficulty?

      And thank you so much for your kind offer of some paper cuttings! Ravens - oh my - that's very exciting news! But let's definitely wait until after the move, because it would be a terrible shame if they did manage to get mixed up with the income tax receipts by mistake ... ;o)

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  6. OH! Ooooooh! I've always loooooved this type of film art.
    The second clip is actually a clip from The Adventures of Prince Achmed-- it is said to be the first ever recorded animation in the history of film. It is a brilliantly, and well made animation with the most intricate Scherenschnitte I've ever laid eyes on. It's a silent film translated from German... oh boy, whenever I feel like heading into an adventure in my mind I always put Prince Achmed on. Thank you so much for posting about this =D

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    1. Thank you for clarifying the origin of the second clip, Madame MM! One keeps meaning to watch the entire Adventures of Prince Achmed, but then feels extremely guilty about not keeping up with the downsizing! It'll be our little secret she spent more time than she should have yesterday watching Puss in Boots, okay? ;o)

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  7. Hey Honey... I have searched and found the video... it's the song "Song of imaginary beings" and here is the Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gor-MuYeYLw
    ... it's a very beautiful song... but... everything of this group (and the singer) it's fantastic...

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    1. The insomniac  can't thank you enough, Madame Kismet - not only for the link to the video (which is awesome!), but for bringing the existence of IAMX to her attention, whom she'd never heard of before but is absolutely loving!! It seems a new CD or two needs to be added to the collection very soon! :D

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    2. I LOVE IAMX! I was lucky enough to see them perfom at a pretty small venue in Philly some years ago. If my plans come off - I'll see them in Germany at Mere Luna this year! (everyone cross your fingers for me!) And yes Insomniac - buy all their CDs!

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    3. I'll see IAMX in April in Berlin... and I'm looking forward to the concert... And yes... next month will be released the new album...

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    4. Ooooh, you guys are both so lucky! Not only is the insomniac  extremely jealous you're going to Germany GothBarbie, but the both of you get to see IAMX! You two should meet up!! :D

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  8. I absolutely love silhouette art -- there's quite a bit of it in St. Nicholas Magazine which is the beast that I'm working on for my dissertation. I want to draw your attention to the silhouette art of Arthur Rackham (can be found by typing "Arthur Rackham silhouettes in google). I was lucky enough to see the original art work at the NYPL when I took my Illustration class there last spring. His stuff is so detailed and quite amazing. Of course, you will see the German influence in his work immediately.

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    1. Oh, the insomniac  does too, Professor! As a matter of fact, she'll probably be writing about the only original piece of silhouette art she actually owns in the near future!

      Until you mentioned it, one had completely forgotten that Rackham did silhouette art. One more often thinks of his intricate sepia works whenever his name is mentioned. But how lucky you were to see the originals! You probably get to see lots of lovely originals, living where you do - so envious! :D

      You have kindled the insomniac's  interest in this St. Nicholas magazine, to the point where she actually started looking on eBay for copies. They sound fascinating! Maybe after the move ... ;o)

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  9. Last year I took class called Paper art, many of the projects and references shown were paper cut art. Striking, gorgeous and complex yet very needy of many X-acto knifes to accomplish it.

    It took me by surprise to read that I'm the winner of the book, I will spend hours with my eyes sunken onto it. ♥

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    1. Oh, if there were a course on paper cutting here, the insomniac  would love to take it. However, being of slightly unsteady hand with poor eyesight, putting a sharp X-acto knife into her grasp mightn't be a terribly wise move!

      So happy that you have won the Giveaway, Uvita Viruella! One hopes that you'll get lots of enjoyment from the book! :D

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  10. I have always loved cut paper and silhouette art, I read a few books with really lovely illustrations like that as a child, I wish I still knew what they were. I think one was a book called The Snow Rose, which still had the elaborate clothes in colour, just the faces in silhouette! I love the purple backgrounds!

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    1. It's rather nice that the silhouette art seems to bring back memories of favourite childhood books, isn't it? What a great idea of having the clothing in colour but the faces in silhouette. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day you'd run across the book again! :D

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  11. This reminds me of The Kingdom of Witches short video, which is based on the silhouette art of Jan Pienkowski. I've added the link for you I.A. I think you'll like it.

    Ali

    http://youtu.be/T06OToVOsbk

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    1. It's awesome, Ali - the animation is perfect and the music is the icing on the cake! Thanks so much for sharing it!

      After reading your comment, the name Pieńkowski seemed familiar, and after a little investigation it turns out the insomniac  read some of his books to the offspring when they were little. Hopefully, now that one has started rooting through the boxes of children's books in the basement, there will be none with his silhouette art because that'll just mean more books that have to be moved! :D

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  12. These artworks are so beautyful! I remember regular shadow pupetry performers on TV, telling night storys for kids, so for me this also holds some nostaligia...

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    1. Oh, that sounds like a wonderful way to end the evening before bed - with a shadow puppet performance on TV! Provided they weren't too scary, of course!

      After writing this post, the insomniac is now feeling the need to find more samples of this art form, because it is rather nostalgic and therefore quite comforting, isn't it? :o)

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  13. What an interesting way to find your next blog topic! Way to make use of what comes your way! Silhouettes are so cool, especially the mysterious ones. I love what is probably a picture of Puss in Boots too. The skeleton is a neat little touch, and I love the wizard's hand. I can't blame you for wanting the Halloween book! I'll have to take a peek at more of it online.

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    1. Some weeks it's definitely a struggle to come up with a topic, Justine - plus how nice to be able to introduce a brand new blogger, right? A win-win for all concerned!

      The insomniac  had kind of forgotten how much she likes silhouette artwork, so this week's post has definitely led to more investigation of the subject, which is always fun! And you're right - the wizard's hand is great! Very creepy!

      Maybe you'll be buying the book soon, too! LOL!

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  14. Silhouette art is so pretty, I sometimes get ideas I want to do with black marzipan on a white cake, but I haven't taken the time yet :P

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    1. Oh my, Lesthi - what a good idea! Can you imagine doing a white cake with a silhouette of bats and cobwebs and maybe the wizard above? That would be fantastic! The insomniac  will be eagerly awaiting the post on that one!! :D

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    2. That would be awesome! I will keep that in mind for future cakes :D

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  15. Ooooh... those examples of scherenschnitte are lovely! Have to pick the 'Puss in Boots' one as my fave, thanks to the bat, skellie and spider, of course! ;) ("Frog Prince"? What the... ?) The 'Pennsylvania Dutch Halloween Scherenschnitte' book looks interesting. I'm off to Amazon next. I think my ever-burgeoning Amazon Wish List is about to get a little longer! :D

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    1. Thank you, Little Gothic Horrors! There were so many examples to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to those few!!

      If you decide to purchase the scherenschnitte book, please let the insomniac  know whether you like it or not. Because if both you and Danielle rave about it, then she might just have to break her resolution of not buying it before the move ... Sigh. Sounds like your Wish List is a lot like somebody else's Wish List! :D

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  16. It is funny, here in Spain we don't refer to that kind of art ad 'papercuts' but as 'Chinese shadows'. Maybe they are different things, I am not completely sure.

    Anyway, I have to check online to see if I can find something fancy myself. I think entertaining guests with papercut shows would upgrade my level as host :-P

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    1. If you had a party with papercut shows for your guests, you would probably be crowned Queen of the Hostesses! And, of course, we'll expect to see pictures of it when you do! :D

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  17. This is just too much of a coincidence! I'm half PA Dutch, and the husband got me that book for Xmas this year! LOL - it's pretty neat!

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    1. No way! That is a coincidence! Don't you love it when things like this happen? :D

      Oh great, now that's two definite “likes” for the book. Looks like it needs to be moved off the Wish List and into the Shopping Cart! LOL

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  18. wow. so pretty! you get more accomplished on one sleepless nite than i do in a week!

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    1. Thanks, Marie! Maybe it just seems as though the insomniac  gets a lot accomplished, but it's certainly not true. Lately, she spends more time flitting from one task to another to yet another, never managing to complete any one thing properly! Pffft. ;o)

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  19. I really like this blog post! Great thoughts :$

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for commenting, Miss LdPW!:o)

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