- Friday, 07 April 2017 12:35
In the old days, women used to cut different shapes out of paper to express their goodwill and blessings. To Laura, a graduate from the Academy of Visual Arts, papercutting is not only a traditional folk art, but also a medium that channels her thoughts of her grandma as well as the intimate bond between them.
Laura was raised by her grandma who was completely illiterate, but with a pair of skillful hands she was very good at various traditional arts and crafts such as Chinese knotting and papercutting. She insisted on teaching Laura all the skills for such handicrafts. Laura recalls, “As a little kid, I lacked the patience to learn papercutting; I simply wanted to finish it as quickly as possible so that I could continue to play. What did interest me, however, were the moving shadows of the window papercuts under the sun as well as Grandma’s sharing of her stories and anecdotes while creating our designs.”
Laura’s inspirations mostly come from her grandma and her notebook, which recorded all sorts of information and newspaper clippings, mainly about current affairs. She loves to visualise the layout of her artwork beforehand and think of ways to link up different things, conjuring up a large picture with an infinite number of small scenes. “Similar to the ripple effect caused by a stone that touches the surface of water, a lot of things are affecting one another. I hope that the audience of my artworks would not only react with a knowing smile, but would also care more about the current conditions in society.”
With advances in science and technology, many people tend to think that papercutting should be done by machine instead of by hand. However, Laura insists on doing it with her own hands. “Papercutting represents an intimate interaction and the unique bond between my grandma and me. When I was a kid, she always took my hand and taught me to cut different shapes out of paper with a pair of scissors. Now, whenever I do papercutting, I recall fond memories of the happy times we shared. It’s a kind of spiritual therapy.”
Driven by the urge to achieve continuous breakthroughs in creating profound artworks, Laura went to Taiwan for a master’s degree programme despite having developed her own personal style of papercutting. Through her studies she was exposed to a great variety of media and gained more opportunities to appreciate other artists’ works, encouraging her to tell stories through different types of art.