Whether it's through words, images or through something handmade, there are many ways to tell a story. Buffalo, New York-based paper artist Maude White of Brave Bird Paperworks and Jewelry finds the hidden stories in her chosen medium, cutting what she calls the "negative space" to reveal a "secret space beneath," a bigger picture of meaning and symbol.
Growing up in a "family of visual storytellers," White was educated in both a Waldorf school and at home by her mother. She has also worked as a librarian, which might explain why she loves paper so much. White's work is delicate, but is also made from a deceptively strong material, as she explains:
White's pieces are lined with numerous, detailed filaments of feathers, ocean waves, hair, and leaf, all meticulously cut into the paper's surface, forming images that are full of density and intriguing patterns. When light shines upon these artworks, the shadows cast show another surprising dimension behind them.
I have great respect for paper. When I cut, the thin membranous material reveals its strength to me. No matter how small my cuts the paper holds. There is a certain comfort in that, a comfort I enjoy. I feel that there are very few things in the world as reliable and constant as paper. Paper is everywhere and it has been telling stories for centuries. By respecting and honoring paper for what it is, and not considering it a stepping-stone to something greater, I feel like I am communicating some of the pleasure it brings to me. I am not creating for Art’s sake. I am creating for Paper’s sake, to make visible the stories that every piece of paper attempts to communicate to us.
White's papercuts are influenced by the beauty of nature's forms and merge them with images of human activity to tell a graceful story of interdependence and connection.
These are delicate yet courageous papercuts that bring a fantastical vision of nature to life, telling stories that many of us would welcome. More over at Maude White's website, and her works can purchased over on Etsy.