..silhouettes are best viewed within the wider of sphere of portraiture; as an art form, they fall somewhere between a craft, a portrait, and means of scientific analysis. -Emma Rutherford
I've been itching to try the art of paper cutting and silhouettes, so the other day I got out my craft knife and some small scissors and went at it. It's not the best cutting job-I always struggle when attempting to cut something out with a craft knife- but I think it came out somewhat decently. I wanted my daughter to be able to play with the paper cut, so I attached the finished piece to a new craft product I discovered at CHA called Sticky Sticks. They are wood craft sticks with some super strong adhesive on the end and are really handy for all sorts of crafty projects. (In fact, I brought a bag home and in one afternoon my daughter and her friend used about 20 sticks for various and assorted projects-from puppets to paper lollipops, but I was able to save a few for myself for projects like this.)
Once I finished making the silhouette, my daughter and I started to play with it. We noticed that, if we put the light too close, the shadow would blur, but it was sharper when the light source was pulled further away. Of course, we asked my scientist husband why this happens and were treated to a long lesson on light refraction that included diagrams. He said that the very best light source would be through a pinhole and offered to bring some items home for us from work so we could further investigate. These are the times when I feel really lucky to have such brain power at my personal disposal. I love how we regularly mix art and science around here!
I also found a beautiful coffee table book at the library called Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow by Emma Rutherford. The photos of the silhouettes are gorgeous and the history is really interesting. Pick up a copy if you can. Another great resource for finding looking at beautiful paper cuts is artist Elsa Mora's website, Art Is A Way.