By Vickie McDonough
Early cutwork often consisted of religious themes. Monks and nuns painstakingly created religious hand-lettered texts with elaborate cut designs. Scherenschnitte focuses on life’s significant events like birth, schooling, courtship, marriage, family, and death. Farm life, flowers, trees, animals, birds, hearts and other figures are incorporated in designs. Resembling a stitched sampler, fancy scrolls were inscribed with verses, names and locales.
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Experienced paper cutters generally worked freehand, without the aid of drawings or guides. For less practiced cutters, a design was planned before any cuts were made, making sure that all parts of the design connect to one another so that the entire paper stays together. Using sharp scissors, or sometimes sharp knives, they cut their motifs with exact precision, most often from a single piece of intricately folded paper. Cutting techniques varied with some designs created from cutting folded paper while others were cut from flat sheets. A finished piece of scherenschnitte is usually displayed against another piece of paper. The Swiss developed a method of layering cut paper, which gave it a 3-D effect.
Scherenschnitte is nearly a lost art, although some Dutch people are determined to keep it alive. You’ve probably made a scherenschnitte creation yourself without even knowing it. Remember when you were a child and you folded paper then cut away small pieces to make a snowflake? Viola! You made a scherenschnitte design. Next time you come across a paper cutting, maybe you’ll consider the rich history of the art.
Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?
Bestselling author, Vickie McDonough, grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who’s scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of over 40 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, from the Texas Trails series, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie, Pioneer Promises book 1 was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July, 2013. Gabriel's Atonement, book one in her Land Rush Dreams series is a finalist in the Will Rogers Medallion Awards.