Paper and Blade


Guest Blog post by Beth McLaughlin, Chief Curator at Fuller Craft Museum, Paper is an unsung hero of contemporary craft, often taking a backseat to its more celebrated “siblings” of clay, metal, wood, glass, and textiles.  But change is afoot at Fuller Craft Museum with the recent opening of Paper and Blade: Modern Paper Cutting.  As the institution’s first cut paper exhibition, it affirms that the genre might finally be getting its due. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA All of contemporary craft celebrates objects that have been created with familiar, tactile materials and somehow rooted in function. And what could be commonplace than paper?  It is all around us. We handle it all day long. We find it on our desks, in our wallets, our mailboxes, our domestic and most intimate spaces. We rely on it every day for any number of tasks.  Yet despite its ubiquitous nature, cut paper has remained a relatively obscure art form. Beatrice Coron cut paper pieces documented in her studio for her presentation at the next TED conference All that is changing as the current trends shift attention to paper cutting.  What is the reason for the growing appeal?  Why does it capture our imaginations like never before?  Perhaps it is a shared nostalgia; for after all, our earliest artistic experiences were paper-centric:  paper chains, cut snowflakes, even “cootie catchers” origami. Charles Clary_Flam-a-Pleural Effusion Movement #3 Clary 1_2015_Hand cut paper and wallpaper on distressed drywall_24 x 24 x 4 in_ Photo by Clary Or is it that we sense a possible material extinction as our lives become increasingly digitized and the planet’s resources are threatened?  Whatever the driving force, the art form offers connection, resonating on our deepest levels of memory and familiarity. Nikki McClure_Escape_2014_Papercut 11 x 11_ Photo credit Dan Kvitka Paper and Blade: Modern Paper Cutting brings together the work of 11 seminal cutters: Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Clary, Béatrice Coron, Mayuko Fujino, Katherine Glover, Bovey Lee, Nikki McClure, Randal Thurston, Michael Velliquette, Maude White, and Charles Young. 20 February - 31 July 2016 Is paper a material that speaks to you? Why not have a look at the paper issue of Selvedge?

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