Friday, January 5, 2007

Cut with care

The Art of The Jewish Paper Cut
The Jews became familiar with papercuts in Germany of the 17th century, where they were known as "Scherenschnitt" (scissor-runs). Austrian monks and nuns went on to create "Spitzenbilder", splendid "lace-pictures" of cut paper and the art was also known in Holland by the 18th century. But Jewish merchants probably met this form much earlier, in the 14th century, from travels to the Far East. Papercuts became most popular in the 19th century and into the early 20th. They were made exclusively by men: pupils in heder, yeshiva students, teachers (melamedim) and their assistants. Sometimes old men made papercuts in their spare time.

Dan Howarth has been creating original papercuts since 1978. His works have been seen in museum exhibits, publications, and private collections throughout the world. His works incorporate papercutting into multi-layered and three dimensional works of art. His body of work includes Jewish themes (papercut ketubot, family trees, ceremonial art, mizrachs) as well as Americana, functional art, and landscapes. Dan has taught the art of papercutting in the United States and Israel for nearly twenty years.

And with those last two beautiful pictures may I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath of Peace) and Shavua Tov (Good week). See you next week.

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