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Typographic Scherenschnitte Installation

The idea for this piece stemmed from the challenge to use typography to say what it doesn't necessarily read. In other words, through the typography design I gave my Granny's words a voice and a presence. The goal for the typography was for it to feel hand-made but not ratty, and like Scherenschnitte with many connections between letters and words. My process began with researching and trying different fraktur/blackletter typefaces to find one that spoke to me as representing Granny. I chose Proclamation light because she was born in 1890 and it feels connected to Vorschrift, or writing exercises that were hand-lettered in fraktur at that time. As Karen and I worked with the layout of the typography in an apron shape, I began to push and pull some of the words larger that were more meaningful.

My work focuses on Deitsch culture, language and traditional crafts. As an artist and designer, I work to push beyond the limitations of paper and page, in order to expand the boundaries of traditional design. I utilize traditional crafts that were passed down in her family to highlight the beauty of our cultural heritage. Scherenschnitte is an old German and PA Dutch paper cutting art where the images were cut out and framed to leave a bit of a shadow behind them. My mom loved making Scherenschnitte and I always have wanted to try. I feel their black silhouettes and subsequent cast shadows are just so beautiful.

How I first envisioned this project was as a typography Scherenschnitte with nothing behind in but projections through to create really beautiful shadow plays on the surfaces that it was cast. Karen suggested it have a dress behind it to really frame the piece. I was also inspired by another artist's work where their dress form was glowing. I believe the addition of the hand sewn dress added an authenticity to the piece and really made it feel alive!

I still have to work out lighting the piece to create a glow and projecting on top of the the piece. Possible solutions, starching the dress or using a matte medium to have the dress stand alone. Karen suggested maybe getting a Plexiglas dress form made. The secondary goal was to play with light, natural, projected and glowing. I am still working that out and enjoy it both glowing and also in full light with shadows being cast. With all the lights off the piece felt very ephemeral and spiritual.

Images from the opening and critique of the piece.




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