Remember when you were a kid and used to cut snowflakes out of a white paper? Remember the excitement over how it was going to look when you started unfolding the paper, did you manage to make a pattern or would it fall apart? Well, some of us took it more serious than others….
<< Psaligraphy, the art of papercutting, is the art of patience
and means to draw or paint with a scissor. >>
When visiting the Gift and Interiorfair in Lillestrøm on Thursday, I had the pleasure to meet Karen Bit Vejle and learn more about her exciting papercutting artwork. She has worked with promoting her name and art fulltime for two years, and she has invested everything she owns into her business. A risky thing to do, but she is now working towards and hoping for international recognition. After the fair in Lillestrøm she knows if her ambitions are at reach. So far the feedback has been overwhelming! Though when I ask about her great hairy goals (as my favorite writer Ingebrigt Steen Jensen said it in his book “Una fyr” from 2002), she says that they’re actually already achieved. Fashionhouse Hermés has contacted her about creating a windowdecoration for the Hermésshops, starting its “shopwindowtour” in Copenhagen. Congratulations are in order on my part! She now wishes to develop the designpart and reach a larger group of people, and maybe one day sell her pieces to Harrods or the Nordstrom chain?
<< My heart and soul are at peace when I have a scissor in my hand
and the paper dances between the scissorblades. >>
She has split her fabulous work in two parts; one is the obvious one with papercutting as artwork on display in museums and so on. The other part is the one that enables her to not need a dayjob – the designpart where she cuts the original, and then copies for larger sales are produced in Norway. The factory had to develop a special lasercut method so that these papercuts could be produced in Norway, which took them a year!
Naturally I’m interested in the material, and want to hear more about making such beautiful art out of paper. She tells me that she uses white, acidfree paper to cut her pieces. But when I ask her about how the paper forms the art, she says that she uses other types of paper as a supplement, but always the white paper as base. Transparent and colored paper are added afterwards to get that right expression. The paper she uses in the base is specially made for her. When her supplier of perfect cutting paper in Tasmania went out of business, she had an institute make an analysis of the Tasmanian paper to supply her with a similar paper. A funny fact here, when you buy fried chicken and look inside the bag – the white paper you find there, is the one she uses!
<< I have been fascinated by paper since childhood! >>
Bit Vejle is forever greatful for this, as it was the paper on roll that once was the start of her cutting career. She used to cut in ordinary A4 paper, which limited her creativity. So when she first found paper on roll in Tasmania her artwork grew larger very fast. And this is also how she discovered her talent – as practice makes perfect – she was soon very good at it! For 35 years now she has been cutting almost every day. She says it’s relaxing to cut, but still a kind of mental exercise; how do you get the whole picture to hold together and still make a pattern?!
Another thing I personally love about Karen Bit Vejles work is the story behind. Nothing is left to coincidence! Her design-motive Ballerina Bulldog dancing on her lifeline has a story to tell us in every cut! In one cut she has her gun, so she’s able to aim for her goals. On the other she has a key, so that she has the ability to lock – and open every door. Or Nelson Mandelas prisonnumber, to make her always remember forgiveness… Beautiful thoughts cut in beautiful paper.
<< I want to make adventurous design that tells us important stories. >>
Though my paperlove is different than Bit Vejles, it’s lovely to hear that my son is not the only one who has to grow up with constant botherings of papercuts beneath his stockings…
Bit Vejles Christmas decorations added to my wish list this year…
Bit Vejle uses recycable paper to display her work.
A visit to her webpage explaines more: www.papercutart.no and I recommend a visit! Her artwork is on display in Maihaugen museum in Lillehammer until 15th of September, also this warmly recommended on my part! After being on display in Lillehammer, her artwork has a world tour ahead.
This article is published with Karen Bit Vejles approvement. Pictures from Bit Vejles webpage published in agreement with Karen Bit Vejle.