Friday, November 1, 2013

Mandala meets paper cutting

All in a row

Having been gifted an afternoon without my entourage by my lovely husband, I decided to take on the project of finishing the nursery decor.  I had purchased some pre-assembled frames with mat and glass for 5"x7" work.  There were four of them, and I have been stewing for several months about what "set" of four things I would like to frame for the new little.

My first thought was to purchase four prints from this amazing photographer.  And although I still adore these photos of animals, it seemed only fair to make something for our girl, since I took the time to make something when the small fry arrived.  I just had a difficult time deciding what to do.  I thought about painting something – and then remembered that it's not something that I'm particularly good at – small detail.  I thought about embroidery, but that would be terribly time consuming and likely take me long enough that by the time I finished four pieces, she would be old enough to tell me that she didn't like them.  

And then I settled on paper cutting.  I learned about paper cut artwork when I was about 9 or 10 years old, from the then-fiancee of a Danish exchange employee of my parents.  Her name was Annette and she was creative and funny and always charming.  Her beau was equally lovely, but fewer of his interests coincided with those of a 10-year-old girl.  She gifted my family some holiday paper cut mobiles and then also made a gorgeous Hans Christian Anderson mobile as a going away gift when they returned to Denmark.  And while she was here she taught me a little about paper cutting.

When the small fry was born, I created some botanical patterns/illustrations for paper cutting and framed those in some floating frames.  I'll photograph them someday and share them.  And those have moved to her new room.  

And for the littlest fry I decided to find some pretty and not terribly intricate mandala designs and use those as inspiration.  I had to modify each one a bit to create some balance in the weight of the lines of the mandala.  And also add a few lines here and there for a few "floating" elements that wouldn't have otherwise translated to paper cutting.  

In work

Originally I envisioned backing each space with a different color paper.  But as I cut and thought about it (paper cutting is a nice meditative pastime -– and reportedly so are mandalas), I decided that too much color would be a bit too stained glass, or Rose Window-ish.  And so I settled on using one hue family for each and just highlighting some of the more striking elements of each.  

First and second in purple and orange

I think it worked.  At least I'm happy with the results.  And the up side to choosing this as the artwork for these frames is that I was able to complete the set in less than two days... partial days at that.  

Third in pinks and red

And the small fry likes them so well that she has declared them her own and would like me to return the old ones to the nursery so that she can have the new ones in her room.  We're thinking about it...

Fourth and final in blue


  1. Faye, those are just beautiful!

    1. Thanks Gail! I've got to be creative with time management in mind lately… :)