Customer Reviews: Paper Cutting Book: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft
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on October 18, 2011
As easily as Alice falls down the rabbit hole, Laura Heyenga's compilation pulls us into the magical land of paper cutting. Page by page we encounter amusements, contemplations, and oddities that reveal the depth flat paper can convey in the hands of 26 paper artists of diverse talent. Natile Avelia's introduction briefly covers history and provides important, well-written narrative snippets on each artist. To readers' delight, Rob Ryan was chosen to preface the book.

So why four stars?

My list of criticisms, preferences & observations:

Every photo is of a finished piece. I crave process shots beyond the two small photos of two separate pieces in the introduction.

The materials list for each piece is pitiful. Some examples: paper and acrylic paint; paper and emulsion; black paper. Uhm, what kind of paper? What weight? What type of acrylic?

Few pieces show scale. No measurements are provided. Some have reference in relationship to walls and books. The very last page with Hina Aoyama's delicate cutting held in a palm accentuates the importance of scale to the viewer.

I would have liked specific history on a few pieces: the amount of time a selected work took, how it was born, the difficulty. Fortunately at the beginning of each gallery we are provided a paragraph of insight into the artist's overall motivations.

Each artist's work covers 4-8 pages. On many pages a photo fills just 55% of the page with small type at the bottom of the page. (The type gives the title, year and/or material used.) Those small photos obscure the art. A larger easier-to-read font should have been used. I'd have paid more for a better layout.

Nearly all the featured artists are art/design graduates. I think Nikki McClure was the only autodidact. I'd have enjoyed seeing more self-taught artists. (Nikki's bio in the book delights.) But, this does not diminish the featured artists, each deserves their place in this creme de la creme book.

The majority of pieces are ethnic neutral. No papel picado, wycinanki, kirie, etc. That's an observation, not a gripe.

Much of the artists' work is available for viewing on the web. (But really, how handy is that?)

Biases and shortcomings aside, the book contains variety, surprise, skill and joy. Life tumbles from one page to the next. Paper Cutting lays an engaging visual feast at our fingertips and is worth the groceries forfeited to buy it.
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on October 30, 2013
The images and artists chosen for this book are beautiful and cover a pretty wide range of contemporary paper cut artists around the world. The issue for me is the less than stellar introductions to each artist. They read like a first year fine arts undergrad wrote them. There's minimal information on the artist and their background and hyper general descriptions regarding the artist's motivations and recurring themes that appear within their work.

For my money, I would have preferred either 1) complete, well-written bios/introductions to each artist featured, especially focusing on how they've contributed to contemporary paper cut artwork as a genre in some unique/interesting way OR 2) skip the intros entirely and provide us with just the basics: images, title, materials, and date. Anybody who's reading this book probably has enough experience with fine arts/design to suss out the subtleties of each artist's style for themselves.

All in all? 5 star work, 2 star writing. Worth the price as a fun reference book, but don't go into it looking for special insights about the works featured. (To be fair, we probably should have picked up on that from the cookie analogy on the first page... Really guys?)
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on February 15, 2014
This would be nice for those interested in the artist's histories, but I was looking for patterns and directions. I wouldn't recommend it to those just looking for patterns and directions.
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on January 1, 2013
Beautiful book! Paper cutting, paper sculpture ... anything to do with paper is truly an art-form and can be used for so many projects. From small cards to enormous sculptures!! This book gives you many ideas to work from. This New Year will find me working on paper, paper, paper!
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on June 30, 2011
I am generally not a book buyer. I'm more of a library-goer, and I am rarely so tempted to purchase any book, but this one was worth it. My artsy/craftsy side has been dormant for quite awhile, but looking through this book has got me stirred up! I can't wait to get going on some projects :)
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on November 17, 2012
This is a beautiful book of amazing paper creations. I have spent hours flipping through it looking at the designs.

The pieces are well-photographed.

There is a nice wide variety of types of paper art represented.

This is not a how-to book. There are no instructions. There is very little in the way of information on technique or materials. There is only a short paragraph about each artist.

If you want a how-to book, this is not the book you are looking for. If you want to spend hours looking at lovely pictures of beautiful paper art, this is a good book. Sometimes it's hard to justify the purchase of a book of photos of art without technique since surely all of those photos are available for free online. But I find it nice to have this book to pick up and flip through when I am in need of inspiration.

I am not so much a traditional paper cutting artist but instead I use a combination of digital techniques for my creations. So the lack of instructions doesn't bother me here. The end products are similar enough that I am able to draw many hours of inspiration from the pages of this book.
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on March 22, 2015
Gorgeous and inspiring, this book covers a range of paper cutting styles. It has a captivating introduction and photographs that allow you to appreciate both the detail and magnitude of the pieces showcased.
I have not entirely determined what the organizational system is (artist names are not alphabetical), but I am usually just flipping through it to find something that interests me at that moment so I don't really need to understand the format.
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on December 10, 2012
Paper cutting artists that push the boundaries: Japanese waves the size of rooms, metaphoric skeletons dwelling in monotonous white spaces and shadows with kitsch Cowboys fighting losing battles to top it all off. A lot to think about and even more to enjoy, visually...
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on February 16, 2012
Beautiful artwork, beautifully photographed. I've look at this book over and over since I got it a few months ago, and I keep finding details that I hadn't noticed before. Exquisite, clever, incredible craftsmanship. It's great to see that so many artists are interested in reviving what really is an old technique. I want to try it myself!
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on September 19, 2013
This book is a great picture book and story of at achievement but it's not telling you how to start or what tools to use. If you think this is a new craft book for a new hobby? Is not. All this looks very hard and most people here have an art degree. So long story short, I stay with my knowledge I have and show this book off to people who say like me ahh, wow, oh.
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