Cutting into Culture

On Tuesday I had the absolute pleasure of taking part in a free papercut workshop run at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. Taking place in their beautiful gallery space, the workshop ran for about an hour during which time we learnt how to create traditional Chinese papercuts using only paper and scissors. For myself this was completely novel as I have only ever used a scalpel to create my papercuts. This traditional method is quite challenging as you have to think about fold and cuts and how to manipulate the scissors just right to get the cuts you want. However, it is lots of fun and produces beautiful symmetrical designs, created from only a few cuts. We had a wonderful teacher in Hongxing Wu, or Harry as he introduced himself, who patiently took us through the process for each design and told us about their meanings in China. Papercutting is a very popular folk art in China and symbolises the idea of blessedness, luck and fortune. They are often used as window decorations for different festivals and religious occasions. During the workshop I made several small papercuts and delighted in seeing my creations come to life when I unfolded the paper.

papercuts Chinese red

My creations for the day


The gallery is also currently home to a papercut exhibiton ‘Cutting into Culture’ featuring traditional Chinese papercuts presented by the Australia-China Friendship Society of SA Branch. On until the 12th of October this exhibition is well worth a visit. The images are bold and beautiful with their delicate cuts and bright red paper. The designs themselves are stunning, exuding a real sense of Chinese culture and the folk history behind this art form. I love, love, loved this exhibition and think it is a wonderful example of papercutting. The cuts were skillfully made and the designs simply beautiful, in particular the zodiac inspired pieces. All in all a fun and inspiring workshop and a delightful exhibition, Murray Bridge Regional Gallery has certainly delivered and I will definitely be visiting again soon!

papercuts Chinese red

A papercut created by folding the paper into small triangles and cutting random shapes.