Ivo contacted me when he was searching for a layered papercut for his first anniversary. He told me he had been searching around the web for quite some time to find an artist that fit the style he was looking for. (I’m happy he did find me 😉)
Initially he wanted to gift this piece at their actual anniversary, but that was just 15 days away… Luckily, he totally understood that rushing a tailor-made piece like this isn’t a great idea and he decided it would be a Christmas gift instead.
Ivo sent me wonderful pictures of his wife and him on their wedding day (I fell hopelessly in love with his wife’s dress…) and we decided to go with three layers and have them in the second layer, with the first and third layer filled with branches and trees to viusalise the outdoor setting of their wedding.
After talking a little about all this, Ivo decided he really wanted to include their children in the piece as well, as he wanted this piece to be about their family as a whole.
Beautiful ideas like these are why we always take our time to discuss all of the wishes and ideas for a papercut design; with talking and brainstorming about it, it all evolves to the best possible vision for the final design. I love this process of getting insight in what someone is actually looking for and starting to visualise it all.
Designing the papercut
I decided to have the kids on the first layer and Ivo and his wife on the second layer. The third layer would be mostly trees with the wedding date incorporated in the branches. In the first design I had Ivo and his wife facing each other.
When I showed this to Ivo he thought they now looked to “closed-of” from their children. I could see what he meant and loved the fact that he really wanted this piece to be about their whole family and not just about them getting married.
As I still wanted the two of them “connecting” with each other somehow, I used multiple images to create a new image of the two of them walking towards the kids, while looking lovingly to each other.
Ivo loved the revised design I sent him, so it was on to the next task; cutting.
As I’ve mentioned before; cutting portraits is one of the hardest things to cut as it needs to be incredibly precise; one little slip or bend and a face doesn’t look like that particular person anymore.
Children’s faces are even harder as their features are quite soft, but the contrast of cut paper is as hard as can be (either there is the paper, or there is none) and you can’t make any soft shadows.
Smiling faces are also a big challenge as the subtleties that make a smile are so hard to cut out, without making it look like a grimace or a face full of wrinkles.
So when I needed to cut Ivo’s two smiling children I had my work ‘cut out’ for me. That’s why after finishing cutting the whole first layer, I decided I didn’ t like how I cut the portrait of his daughter; she didn’t look like her and she didn’t have that angelic expression that she had in the photos Ivo had sent me. So I did the whole layer over again.
When I’m working on difficult designs, I usually have a test design right next to the piece I’m working on, to try ways of cutting things on and see how I like it, or not. With this piece I think I have cut all three layers at least two times to make it all look right…
But in the end I was pretty happy with the result.
What do you think?
What the client said:
“Stephanie and I unwrapped it tonight and it’s absolutely extraordinary!
She was truly speechless and wonderstruck by the level of detail, and absolutely LOVES the piece.! We talked about all the steps you spent working on it with me and getting it just right.. As well, I appreciate the attention to detail you had in packaging it up, the photos of the work in progress and the little note you included, all made this anniversary gift a wonderful experience 🙂
I want to thank you Marthe for the beautiful work you’ve done – the 3 layers and the perspective and depth it gives to the piece is so special – it is a truly beautiful piece of art..!
We are both very grateful for having this as an exceptionally unique anniversary present, and a family heirloom keepsake..
Thank you again Marthe!”Ivo
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