Cutting Up About Home Crafts

Jay%20Silhouette.JPGJay Johnson -- I love the world of crafts! Everyday people, regardless of their proficiency, try their hand at creating something original or from a kit every day, and I say bravo! I like their forge-ahead, let's-make-something spirit.

Too often I am at an art gallery or a retail store and I hear someone criticizing something on display or for sale. The words are always a variation on, "That looks like something I could have made in an afternoon." or "Anyone could make that!" That's why I love people who actually roll up their sleeves, take the plunge, and make something decorative.

I encourage you to check out our YouTube Design2Share video channel and our exciting new Blinkx Design2Share video channel. We showcase my craft projects in both of those channels. I am not a professional video photographer, but I am diligent and intrepid and I keep shooting away. So I can relate to crafters and lovers of home projects everywhere. Let's keep on keeping on together as we try to make something wonderful that people will enjoy.

Watch these three Design2Share videos that pertain to crafts -- and we think you'll be inspired by them to make something of your own:

  • Campaign Chest & Baskets takes you to Cape Town, South Africa to see some beautiful baskets made from wire, a local craft that is known for its colorful beauty; our D2S decorating expert Irwin Weiner ASID is your narrator on this video
  • Magic Mosaics shows one Philadelphian's mind-blowing dedication to making mosaic sculptures and architectural decoration
  • Woolworth's Christmas Craft Story highlights a Des Moines, IA woman who relives a childhood crafts memory -- parents, get your kids crafting right away and start making some special memories!

The silhouette above is really me, and it was cut out in a jiffy by a crafter we met several years ago on a trip to China. I hadn't thought about this craft souvenir until we went to The Designer Craftsmen Show of Philadelphia in January. We got to see many fine artists and their traditional folk art and crafts on display. Truly fascinating.


Several craft exhibitors were masters of scherenschnitte, which is not a dish you would order in a German restaurant! It's a traditional craft, cutting paper in the 1700s style of the Pennsylvania Germans. The word literally means "scissor cuts," and the results can be spectacular. The beautiful lettering and scene above was done by crafter Cindy Ferguson, a 32-year-old graphic designer from Salt Lake City whose Papercutting Blogspot is very entertaining and a great inspiration for crafters.

Here are the three master papercutters we saw at The Designer Craftsmen Show.

Pamela Dalton, Scherenschnitte blew us away with her beautifully framed work. Here is a sample this Ghent, NY artist calls Parade:



Sandra Gilpin specializes in original, hand-cut, painted scherenschnitte designs in cutom-made grained frames. While she does not have a website, you can email her at Here is an untitled sample of her work from summer 2007:



Marie-Helene Grabman specializes in traditional European style scherenschnitte with themes from the United States. She stands beside one of her creations in this photo:



guild%20seal.gifKicking a can.  Kicking around the idea of papercutting as a crafting pursuit, perhaps even a career?

Look into papercutting as a craft or home project hobby by picking up a book like  Scherenschnitte: Designs and Techniques for the Traditional Craft of Papercutting or Sandra Gilpin's Folk Art Favorites.

If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into the world of papercutting, then look into the Guild of American Papercutters and their seasonal publication First Cut.


Enjoy crafting, and get those scissors sharpened!


Photo Credits: Cindy Ferguson, Pamela Dalton Papercutting, The Scissor-Cutting Art of Marie-Helene L. Grabman, Guild of American Papercutters, First Cut Magazine

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