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Wednesday 9 April 2014

Cutting Images

Humming Bird paper-cut - finished all but a few leaves.


Last weekend I attended a second, more advanced Scheerenschnitt (paper-cutting) course where I spent five hours snipping away at a new work of art.

The course took place just a few hundred metres from my front door, which meant I could have a leisurely breakfast on the balcony before the ten o’clock start.

All of this was just a stone’s throw from the home and studio of the famous Nürnberg artist Albrecht Dürer.

I was not prepared myself for this course as had I wanted to. Having learnt the basics at the first course and now knowing how to prepare images for cutting I had wanted to at least have a motive sorted out for my next paper-art work and perhaps even have it traced on to the black paper, but I had not had the opportunity to get to the drawing board. To tell the truth it was not until the children at work were so excited by a recent flower image that I had snipped as a birthday card and they all wanted to colour in ( that I decided to do another, but bigger, flowery image.

I decide that I would take a few photographs on the way up the hill of the daffodils around the castle moat and then compose a drawing directly from these photographs on to the back of the black paper, but as I was going out of the door I caught a glimpse of the picture at the top of this posting. It is one that my Dad painted for me for my fiftieth birthday.

I grabbed it, removed it from the frame and popped it in my folder.

This was the perfect solution, using his image to cut a silhouette I could then print a few copies for him to use as greetings cards.

There were seven of us at the course this time, the two ladies whom I had met in the autumn and four others. There was not a lot of time to get to know each other as with our heads down we drew and snipped to our hearts content with little thought to conversation. This is why I enjoy these Saturday courses so much. My head is emptied of any thoughts from the previous busy week and of the one that follows too.

It was the first really warm spring day and in a way I was sorry to be sitting indoors, so during the break for lunch break I walked through the main market square that was swarming with tourists and eventually sat down in the sun for a coffee and a read of book published by the local paper-cutting group that I had purchased at the course.

I really had to get my nose down in the afternoon. I wanted to add some colour to my picture, something that I had not done before, and for this I needed the advice of our teacher. I had at least to get started on it before I went home.

I finished snipping my flowers and bird with about an hour left to use lovely Japanese rice paper to add colour to my image, although I had to finish off with my pastel shades of tissue paper at home on Sunday.

Our teacher and my co-students were interested in the fact that my original image had been painted by my ex- traindriver Dad and that I had now transformed it into an artwork of my own. This gave cause for some lively discussion and I look forward to telling my Dad all about it when we next meet.

I had hoped that I would get an image completed that I could use as an Easter card but I will have to do that on my own this weekend!

What I have managed to do is have some prints made of my completed paper-cut that I will give to my Dad to use as greeting cards.  

The next course will be in the autumn and I am already looking forward to it. I have plans to start a big picture! Big in paper-cutting terms will be about A4!


A video of the paper-cutting teacher in action and a peep in to her studio –

Saturday 5 April 2014

Sharing enthusiasm's picture PS

Spring flowers
As well as making me feel good blogging is also a wonderful motivation for getting projects finished quickly!

I varnished the finished canvas after sticking on the 15 individual flower pictures. It is now ready for hanging in the Kindergarten on Monday.

Friday 4 April 2014

Sharing enthusiasm

Gisele and Gabor returned home to nest

I have not been blogging for a long time now because I have a very painful shoulder and neck and I know that this is aggravated when I use the computer. I usually suffer for it the following day and before Christmas a furthur debilitating symptom was a weekly migraine.

I have been trying to answer only essential work emails on the computer and to do any other writing by hand.

I have been having physiotherapy sessions regularly since November and after eighteen sessions I was enjoying pain-free days, on one occasion a whole week, for the first time since March 2013.

Over the past three days the shoulder problem has flared up again, the brilliant physiotherapist is doing her best to deal with it, one of my colleagues has a go too now and then too, and on Tuesday I discussed with a friend how a change of diet may help me towards some more pain-free days. I have started by leaving out dairy products and I will go from there to testing other foods over the next few months to see whether my body reacts positively to the changes.

I think that it is now time to get an X-ray made and to get some more advice as to how to proceed with treatment.

Feeling better

Just a few minutes ago I realised that one of the things that always made me feel good was blogging and as the pain has returned without my using the computer I have been tempted to sit down and write something.

One of my other great pleasures over the past two years has been watching on line the progress of the peregrines that nest on Norwich Cathedral spire and comparing their progress with the birds that nest on or near my balcony.

A week after the peregrines laid their eggs in Norwich, the collared doves returned to the tree outside my flat. I was enjoying an early spring day on Sunday when I noticed that the new nest, just a few choice twigs that the male bird presented the female with intertwined to form a precarious small platform, is situated even nearer to my deckchair than it was last year. I will have a wonderful view of the activities associated with egg-sitting and I hope later also the bird-rearing.

Already my neck is creaking and my shoulders are both aching so I will sign off from doing what I enjoy and hope that I will be back on a regular basis from now on, risking hurting just a bit more so I can enjoy once again one of the things that makes me feel good.


A nameless toucan in Norwich

I love the birds returning to nest so much that I recently took a toucan that my Dad had bought for me in Norwich on my last visit, to the Kindergarten group.

Ken Toucan and his nest of eggs

For three weeks we discussed, crafted, painted and watched all things to do with eggs, nests, birds and their babies, worms and learning to fly, until on the last day Toucan Ken packed his bag, and also his babies, to fly south for a holiday!  The children of course know that this really means that he will be back again when I return for the next block in May.

It is always with amazement that I watch the children’s reactions when I introduce them to one of my own enthusiasms. It is so lovely to see how they too become enthralled by it and how, through our all getting excited by nature, birds, and flowers, eggs and worms, the whole of our three-week ‘Pető Block’ evolved with a life of its own without much planning on my part.

"Ken Toucan and his brood"

Spring has been our main topic for this course so on another day last week I took my latest silhouette picture of spring flowers in to show my colleague. We smiles as two of the five year-olds asked whether they could colour it in! They of course had no idea how many hours of snipping had gone into producing it and that it was in fact a fine black paper cut-out that was carefully placed on a sheet of white card.

I had anticipated their interest, although again I was still amazed at how our own enthusiasm so quickly inspired the children’s. I had already photocopied the picture several times so we were immediately able to get started on a second spring-related project producing a beautiful collage of flower pictures – the photo will follow tomorrow.