Cindy Bean is a talented graphic designer and illustrator using a fascinating medium- paper cutting. The detail in her work is beautiful, crafted by an obviously meticulous hand. Cindy’s subject matter is charming. She sometimes gets classified as a children’s illustrator, but her images are far from being images that only children enjoy. Many of her pieces tell a lovely shadowed narrative and each piece is worthy of prolonged gazing.
Cindy has created a new body of work to show at Blonde Grizzly for this months gallery stroll. I asked her a few questions about the upcoming show and the craft of paper cutting.
Paper cutting is a pretty rare art form. What made you decide to start?
In 2006, a friend and I went on a whirlwind trip of Europe. Stopping in Salzburg, we went to the museum at Mozart’s birthplace. In the gift shop, they had these small papercuts for sale. I bought a couple and thought, “I can do this.” Then, we went to my grandparent’s home in Germany. In their sitting room, they had a few papercuts hanging on the wall. These were, by far, much more intricate than the ones I had bought in Salzburg and it shifted my line of thinking from, “I can do this” to “I’m going to need to practice this for a while before I can get this good.”
This is your second show at Blonde Grizzly. Your first show was a bunch of very small pieces. The image for your work in this show looks like the pieces may be larger, or at least have multiple layers. Can you tell us a little about the pieces that we can expect to see on Friday night?
There will be a few pieces from the story of “The Marsh King’s Daughter” an Andersen fairy tale and there will also be some from different tales. They all have a water theme to them. These are definitely larger pieces with much more detail to them. Whereas the other show had a lot of smaller pieces with less detail, this one will have fewer, larger ones that took a lot more time to create. Also, my husband, Tom, helped me out a lot by creating custom board for the frames, so that was fun to collaborate with him on that.
Your pieces are very intricate and I can only imagine they take a very long time to make. Can you walk us through the process?
The hardest part isn’t the cutting, it’s the concepting. Trying to figure out what to draw, how to position things so they are recognizable as silhouettes, what paper to use, how big it should be. Once these things are all figured out, the cutting part is a breeze. Sure, it may take a lot of time, but there’s a lot less thinking and a lot more listening to podcasts involved.
Your last show included images of the 50 states. What is you favorite state and why?
Well, of the pieces from that show, my favorite was Texas and Oklahoma (their birds had long, pretty tails). I loved how Maine’s turned out too, with it’s little chickadee on top of the pine. My favorite state, though it’s papercut was one of my least favorites, is this great state we’re living in, Utah. So many pivotal moments have happened here in my life that I will cherish forever.
On your blog, papercutting.blogspot.com you give away free paper cutting templates. (which is so cool) Just on the first page I saw a valentine, a Wizard of Oz inspired template and one with David and Goliath. How do you choose the theme or ideas for the templates?
A lot of times, I choose my themes from whatever season we’re in. If it’s close to Valentine’s, I’ll do a love theme. Christmas – a Christmas theme, etc. But sometimes I’ll just be sitting in church and doodling and they just get whatever template comes out of my brain, like it or not!
Your blog is called Scherenschnitte which is the German word for paper cutting? What are your specific ties to Germany? (heritage, travel, language etc)
My mother was born and raised in Germany and is adorable. I’ve had 4 years of unsuccessful German classes in high school and college and I’ve been there a handful of times to visit family. I would love to go back and visit one of their Scherenschnitte museums.
We look forward to seeing Cindy’s new work and you should too! Gallery Stroll is this Friday Night. Come out and enjoy!