I was delighted when I came across this book by chance in the local library. I had been meaning to learn more about paper cutting after a recent visit to the Ashmolean, where I encountered works by Chinese artist Bovey Lee (b.1969) (which I think will merit another post at a later date).
There are paper cutting traditions in both China and Japan that go back centuries. This work gives a very brief overview of the history in the introductory essay by Natalie Avella, then presents a compilation of work by 26 contemporary paper cutting artists from around the world.
Several Japanese artists are included. Kako Ueda (b.1966) makes fluid, complex designs with a sinister edge - a spider or a skull might be hidden in the tracery. In a similar vein, Hina Aoyama (b.1970) creates very intricate, detailed designs using a pair of scissors. Her images verge on the fantastical or surreal, with abundant floral elements.
Yuken Teruya (b.1973) uses everyday objects to create his artworks: cardboard toilet rolls are adapted to create a forest of miniature trees, and a paper bag from MacDonald's is cut to make a tree with snowy white leaves. His work has a more political flavour, speaking to the depletion of the earth's resources.
Of the many stunning artworks featured here, I think my favourites were by Yulia Brodskaya (Russian, b.1983) who uses a quilling technique, and Molly Jey (Swiss, b.1978) who makes landscapes inspired by nature - her white paper forest scenes took my breath away.
It's four years since the book was published, so I imagine it doesn't show the freshest, most up-to-date works by these artists, but there is certainly plenty here to enjoy and to marvel over.
Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft
Compiled by Laura Heyenga, 2011.
Chronicle Books, 176 pages, £17.99 (paperback).