Cutting stories out of paper

Art © by John Lechner

It really is true that time moves faster as you get older. Not literal time, but our perception of time, which in many ways is far more important. So before any more time passes, I thought I’d share some recent projects.

Most recently, I finished a new paper cutting. I’ve been doing paper cuttings and shadow puppets for a few years now, and I really like the challenges and the effects you can achieve. I love how silhouettes force you to use your imagination, and this internal picture-creation can be far more powerful than any realistic image.

Here is a little bit about my process. I started with a pencil sketch, which I scanned and printed out bigger, and in reverse. This is because I would be drawing and cutting on the back side of the paper.

Art © by John Lechner

I then copied the design onto heavy black paper, and cut out the images with an x-acto knife. It was a slow process, and took several evenings.

Art © by John Lechner

Art © by John Lechner

And here is the final piece, which measures 11 x 14 inches.

Art © by John Lechner

This artwork will be on display at the Needham Library throughout the month of April, part of an exhibit for the Needham Open Studios, which I will also be participating in. You can visit the Open Studios website here.

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Also this past winter, I designed the set for a theatrical performance called I Spy Butterfly, by Faye Dupras, with music by Max Weigert (pictured below).

I Spy Butterfly, performed by Faye Dupras and Max Weigert

The show, which features puppetry, live actors and music, tells the sweet story of a young girl who loves insects and befriends a caterpillar. It weaves together themes of change, nature, and friendship, and is a magical performance for all ages.

The show was developed by Faye and Max over a period of months, where they worked out the action and the structure of the set. I came in to design the look of the scenery, which was then built by Larry Dersch and painted by Lauren White, so it was a team effort. Below is one of my paintings for the set, and also the final product. It was fun to work on such a creative project. The show will be performed again this May at Puppet Showplace Theater, in Brookline, MA.

Set design for I Spy Butterfly

Elsewhere in my life, I’ve been doing a lot of writing, revising old manuscripts and starting new ones. Hopefully that will all come to fruition at some point, and you’ll see another book from me. In the meantime, stay tuned for future developments!

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This entry was posted in Appearances, Art, Exhibits, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

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