Artist's Lace-Like Paper Cut Artworks Are Made With Recycled Newspapers

These ephemeral, woven paper artworks are inspired by a convergence of traditional handicrafts and the urgency of current affairs.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion

Myriam Dion

Reading an actual book or newspaper may be falling to the wayside in today's hyper-digital age, given the ease and convenience of having (literally) millions of online publications and news items available, all at the swipe of one's fingertips. But there are signs that there's a resurgence of demand for the printed word, whether it's found in the appealing physicality of books, the rallying cry to support local independent book shops, or people rediscovering the simple joy of sipping a tea or coffee, and reading the newspaper on a sunny Saturday morning.

But there's another, more artistic way to revive the printed word too – and to question the nature of our over-consumption of media – as Montreal, Canada-based paper artist Myriam Dion shows with her intricate paper artworks. Typically made with recycled newspapers from well-known outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Montreal Gazette, and Le Monde. Over the last few years, we've seen the evolution of Dion's previous works, which were typically characterized by tiny, precise cuts repeated over a broadsheet. Her new paper cuts are now further elaborated with the new addition of colorful weaving of paper pieces, and some ingenious folding, to add extra layers of beautiful visual contrast.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

The idea is to elevate the ordinary newspaper beyond its usual function, as Dion explains:

"In reusing and reinvesting a means of social and political communication that are newspapers as the primary medium of my works of art, I try to redefine the use of this written support [that is] on the brink of extinction. The beautifying process I operate on the newspapers’ pages intends to distract the onlooker from its usual informative function and instigate a contemplative experience instead. "
recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

Dion's creative practice involves her selecting newspaper sheets based on the content and any photographic images that catch her attention.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

Most of the time, she doesn't have a pre-planned pattern in mind before she begins cutting, often improvising and letting the images and content guide her hand.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

With larger and more complex geometric patterns, however, she will sometimes create a stencil to make the process go more smoothly.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

Dion often will choose patterns to cut based on the origins of the news story that she is interested in.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

She has a number of pattern books in her studio that she uses as a reference and as a source of inspiration, and will try to match the pattern she will use with the cultural or social leanings of her subject.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

As Dion says, her artistic influences are a convergence of ideas stemming from weaving, embroidery, lacework, and other traditional handicrafts, and the immediacy of current events, from California's wildfires to the global coronavirus pandemic:

"First characterized by their medium, newsprint, my works also come together under the common denominator of current affairs, presented from a new angle through meticulously crafted lace. Most of the time, it is the profusion of articles covering a conflict, a social movement or a global crisis that figure at the center of my works. The thin cuts must be able to withstand the tragic aura emanating from such political issues. Faced with the distress and violence of the images that we consume on a daily basis, in front of the crude obscenity of media images, I choose not to give in spectacular art or sensationalism: I propose a work that operates through the delicacy of the gesture, the fragility of paper and modesty, and which makes a return to the subtlety and sensitivity of the human being."
recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

Further pushing the influence of weaving into her newest artworks, Dion is now meticulously interlacing thin strips of paper into her fragile pieces, which adds extra durability, but can double or triple the amount of time it takes to finish.

recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

But there's a point to this, as Dion explains:

"The weaving of paper accentuates the "textile" aspect of my works and is consistent with the re-valorization of know-how, hand-made and the contemporary dimension of craftsmanship that I wish to put forward in my practice."
recycled newspaper paper cut art Myriam Dion
Myriam Dion

Ultimately, Dion's ephemeral works ask us to re-examine our fraught relationship with the constant firehose of information we mindlessly consume every day. Can we look past the sensationalist facade of the news, and perhaps look deeper to find a more reflective position from which to understand things?

To see more, visit Myriam Dion.