August 22, 2007

The Papercuts of Hans Christian Anderson

Hans Christian Anderson called his papercuttings 'scissor drawing;' and his paper art is now regarded as an important link in his creative process. His urge to cut & paste was nearly as strong as his urge to write, & he nearly always carried a pair of scissors. The creation of a paper-cut was often accompanied by an improvised fairy tale.
About 1.000 examples of Anderson's papercuts have survived to this day; from simple figures to complex scenes. Unlike the majority of silhouette & paper cutters of his time, Anderson never began with a pencil sketch of his subject. One last important aspect of Anderson's papercuts is that they were both extremely modern & at the same time drew heavily on ancient legends, fairy tales, & superstitions. Modern aspects were revealed in his use of materials; he included such things as train tickets, stamps, maps, bills, etc.

Anderson himself; his characters seemed to spring from within him.

A 'mill-man'; he had a ladder leading up to a large door with wicket gates in his stomach, which could be opened & closed, looked into or out of. He stood on a table.

This information & these images came from the Hans Christian Anderson collections in the Royal Library.

More biographical information, images of H.C. Anderson postage stamps, a chronological list of his fairy tales (many available to read online), along with additional links & reference information may be found here.


Jenny F said...

Fabulous,makes me want to give it a whirl.

fun_is_always_in_style said...

me too...