SPRING always means the start of the wedding season and for me that means handcut hearts. They’re my most popular papercut design and over the last few years I’ve done many different ones.
The Scottish one pictured above is one of my favourites. I love the thistles and the clasped hands, but because bespoke designs often incorporate themes that have special significance for the couple I’ve used all sorts of unusual elements in some of my cuts like elephants, pineapples, or knives and scissors. That’s not always easy but somehow we get there eventually!
These days we take personalised artwork and gifts for granted and there aren’t many artists and crafters who don’t offer the service because personalised stuff sells. Go on to Etsy or Not on the High Street and you can find personalised papercuts galore. I think we all like the idea of having something made specially for us or for someone we care about and commissioning something to be made for someone also has a lot of kudos – they (hopefully) feel touched we’ve gone to so much trouble and we feel good that we’ve thought really hard about what they might like.
It isn’t a new thing of course, what’s new is the way we go about getting this stuff. In the past people often gave personalised gifts to friends and family, the difference is lots of those things might have been made by the giver – I’m thinking of objects like love spoons or embroidered handkerchiefs. I’ve even heard of things like carved corset stiffeners being made for women by their menfolk and inscribed with patterns or sayings – in one case the maker wrote ‘and don’t break this one’. And in many ways today’s papercuts, which themselves descend from a very old traditional craft, are like the 18th Century’s embroidered samplers which commemorate people or occasions as well as offering their makers a method of practicing their embroidery skills.
So as I look forward to this year’s new commissions I wonder what I might expect from the customer’s wishlist. As ever there will be flowers, love birds and hearts entwined around the names and dates of my papercut’s subjects. Perhaps some words too – love always is popular, as is cariad, the Welsh word for love.
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