Bladework I've been admiring paper-cut silhouettes for a while now, seen in galleries while I was away and in blogland. Cuban artist Elsa Mora does amazing things with the technique, and can work on a really small scale, which must require a confident hand. I'm a great fan of her work.
Lily's boyfriend Nick has a real beauty hanging over his drawing table, so I was able to study it up close. I love silhouette pictures, and, done well, these can look really effective and a lot of fun. With a few kiddies' birthdays looming over the next few months, I thought I'd give it a whirl (a) to see how tricky it is and (b) to make some birthday prezzies. It took me a while to get the right thickness and weight of paper, that would cut easily, without tearing, and allow me to cut curved lines. And at the same time I had to find the right sort of blade for the knife, and then the right support.
I ended up cutting on the reverse side of the mat I use to cut my patchwork. It was hard on the eyes, concentrating on a cut line, but as with everything, practice will help. So this was my first attempt, once I'd sorted out all the above. I wanted to make a tree full of birds for dear little Elle, who turns one next month. I worked from the top down and got quite a bit more comfortable with the blade as I got towards the bottom branches.
There was quite a bit of accidental defoliation and deliberate swearing, until I got a system worked out and also left more substantial twigs and branches. I'm happy with the birds and leaves, but don't think Elle's name works at all. So we'll see how we get on with the next effort!