Paper Cuts Inspired by Folktales Take Root in the Imagination

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Eugenia Zoloto via Behance

Paper is one of those everyday things that we take for granted. Yet, it's a versatile material that can be transformed into utterly magical works of art. Inspired by traditional folk tales from Russia and beyond, Ukrainian paper artist Eugenia Zoloto creates these gorgeous hand-cut works of art, which combine dream-like images of humans and animals living in harmony.

Zoloto, who is a busy mother of two children, began exploring paper cuts about five years ago, though she has been trying out "every possible hobby class" out there since she was a young girl. With some of these pieces taking up to seven hours to complete, she finds that her best creative work is done at night.

Using an sharp knife and paper of various colours, Zoloto manages to carve in complex narratives that come alive with their variety of symbols: plants and birds' nests intertwining with human hair to symbolize rebirth and belonging, a mixing of animals with starry constellations to represent the celestial origin of all life.

With their delicate, wispy detailing and fluid forms, these pieces do have that feeling of a nighttime story, told before one goes off to dream.

One of Zoloto's distinctive themes are large dresses, which have patterns and images culled from nature. As Zoloto recalls, these are inspired by her grandmothers, who used to do traditional embroidery on dresses: "They sewed doll dresses for me, made amazing national Ukrainian embroideries on the cloth...I loved to watch them so much."

One of our favourites is this full-size dress-shaped paper cut: look a bit closer and you see the little animals scurrying around the stalks of the sunflowers.

Though ephemeral and intangible, our memories and our experience of our own life narrative mean a lot. Zoloto's works tie in those personal remembrances with a greater folk narrative that attempts to make sense of our relationship to nature and to ourselves. To see more, visit Eugenia Zoloto's Instagram, or purchase one of her paper cuts on Etsy.

[Via: My Modern Met]