A Paper Garden City
A portrait of Letchworth in wonderful designs created with paper cuts by the gloriously talented local artist Vanessa Stone.
Vanessa Stone says: "I love working in paper. Using the scalpel is so delicious because as I cut away, more and more is revealed. The scalpel lets the image out - lets it exist. I suppose it's like a stripping away to get to the real heart of the matter: pure meaning and form combined. That's what pulls me to cutting again and again - the quest for a perfect balance between design and meaning. The blade is uncompromising, I can't hide any mistakes or cover them over with layer after layer - I simply have to throw it away and start again.
THE THEMES OF MY PAPER CUTS
"Much of my work is about expressing the human condition and wanting to tell people what it feels like to be me. Being alive in all its ways - of love and passion, sadness and happiness, beauty and curiosity is a shared experience of us all and its very natural to want to communicate that. I think we are all doing that, artists or not, finding ways to be who we need to be and expressing it.
"Architecture has always been a love for me. Growing up near Salisbury, the Cathedral and the richness of the architecture there both Classical and Medieval always had a powerful effect on me. Buildings satisfy my head and my heart. My head in the beauty, proportions and mathematics of architecture and my heart because of buildings being part of my memories, my environment and where I come from.
"Cambridge is particularly special to me. When I feel fed up and hemmed in, I go just to look at the buildings and have a cup of tea at the Fitzwilliam Museum. There is such a flow in the city, an energy of brains and intellect that is intoxicating.
HOW I GOT HERE.....THE JOURNEY TO CUTTING PAPER AS AN ART FORM
"Originally from Salisbury, I went to college in 1986 to study on the UK's only Rug and Carpet Design course in the midlands. I graduated in 1990 and worked as a freelance designer designing rugs to commission, printed textiles, and embroideries. I moved to Letchworth Garden City in 1993 and continued to make textiles and run workshops at museums and schools. It was during this time that I did two postgraduate courses for Artists in Primary and Secondary Schools at Anglia Ruskin University.
"This was the time that my work was starting to change. I had two children and my brain went to complete mush. I just about kept my creative juices intact by doing anything vaguely arty: making curtains and blinds, banners for local churches etc. Then one day I had an epiphany. There was an actual day when I cut a stencil of the face of Metatron to sponge paint through and I just looked at the stencils and thought it was more exciting than the textiles. The cutting of the paper thrilled me so much and I started to research into stencils that then led to paper cutting. A whole new world opened up before my very eyes."
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