The Fine Art of Papercutting

The art of the papercut has fascinated me for some time and I have been thinking about it a lot lately whilst contemplating decorative projects for baby’s room.

Maybe it’s because I have never delved very deep into it myself. Maybe it’s the delicacy or intricacy of it or perhaps it’s because something so unique and timeless can come from something as simple as paper. Whatever the attraction may be, I wanted to share some of my favorite papercut artists and inspirations with you.

Peter Callesen‘s work is awe-inspiring. He works in all sizes and his creativity in composition is incredibly unique. His subjects are clever and thought-provoking and sometimes a bit sad. Almost all of his pieces are 3 dimensional.
His thoughts on his media: “I find this materialization of a flat piece of paper into a 3D form almost a magic process – or maybe one could call it obvious magic, because the process is obvious and the figures still stick to their origin, without the possibility of escaping.”


Peter Callesen




Peter Callesen



Fall-detail by Peter Callesen



Peter Callesen


Can you believe that skeleton is made out of paper?!



Elsa Mora is a very busy little bee.  Just stop by one of her dozen blogs about dolls, papercutting, or fashion to check in and see! You may discover her jewelry or illustrations there too.

I really love Elsa’s work as it is somehow fantastical and personal at the same time. You can almost read about her experiences in the cuts and veins of her work.  She layers characters within one another to almost make you feel like a peeping tom.

Whoa, right?



Have you ever torn a leaf with your fingers? Ever tried to peel the leaf away from it’s veins? Well I have, and I always fail to do it perfectly. This is just one reason I am completely in love with Jenny Lee Fowler‘s brilliantly executed leaf silhouette portraits. And guess what else? She does traditional freehand silhouettes:

“I cut this type of portrait using the traditional freehand method, by observing a person in profile (sitting in front of me or on a computer screen) and cut their likeness directly into the paper. It’s much like gestural drawing, only with scissors.”

And as if those aren’t impressive enough, she also works with birch. I really love all of her techniques whether it be the simple yet classic silhouette or her snowflake style or flat papercuttings. Look at these and be instantly transported to a beautiful forest surrounded by deer and sunshine.


I don’t know about you but I’m so inspired, I’m going to go out and get myself a self-healing mat right away!



October 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Art and Neat stuff.


  1. Martha Ginn replied:

    I was familial with Peter Callesen’s work but not the others….still unbelievable. Have fun learning!
    Aunt Martha

  2. barncat1 replied:

    Amazing! Not familiar with this at all, I’m so glad you shared. Going back to look at all those links, just amazing!

  3. bookwormbethie replied:

    be careful about the self healing mats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    sorry, about all the exclamation points, but i’ve seen fiskar’s self-healing mats at joann’s that have scary stickers on them regarding cancer/birth defect warnings on them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i think the self-healing mats have bad stuff in the them and makes them stinky. lisa/barncat1 told me about these not self healing mats that are sold at wal-mart (june tailor brand perhaps?) that are not self healing but can be used for regular rotatry cutting. please buy yourself that instead!!!!

    • Modern Ma'am replied:

      ooh my! thanks Bethie! i hadn’t heard of this but I also hadn’t done much research yet. Thanks so much for letting me know so I can look for a “fake” one!

      • bookwormbethie replied:

        yes, thanks for reading between all my crazy exclamation points to receive the message 😉

        i too am still researching/shopping for a rotary mat, i was at joann’s the other day (their rotary stuff i think is 40% off at the moment) and hubby noticed that the olfa (i think) plain ol’ mats did not have the warning stickers on them.

        but best of luck with your search 😉 how is that bunny coming along????

        • Modern Ma'am replied:

          Olfa. Got it! 🙂 On the neck on the bunny now! Will post some updates on flickr.

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