This book is a charming introduction to a craft that requires only paper and scissors to get started. If you delighted in folding paper and cutting out six-sided snowflakes in grade school, you are already apprenticed in this medieval art.
Swiss artist, Susanne Schläpfer-Geiser coaxes the beginning paper cutter along in a series of clear, easy steps through the basics, then into folded cutwork. Free-form or open cutting is next, illustrated by the author's appealing borders of chickens, mice, cats, elephants, and dogs at play, holding umbrellas, rolling over, and going about their daily lives. More complicated work is also illustrated, such as the Scherenschnitte of Noah's Ark by the author.
A good technique for learning how to craft beautiful paper cuttings is to read a chapter, practice the technique within, then go back through the author's instructions to determine what you could improve. She teaches her readers how to choose good paper, how to hold the scissors (and also what type of scissors work well), and how to manipulate the paper while cutting. There are also directions how to paste the finished scherenschnitte to a background (I found the pasting harder than the cutting!), and how to frame your finished work of art.
The more advanced chapters explain techniques for creating scherenschnitte with borders, cutting them with a craft knife, positive-negative cutwork, and coloring your finished work. You could also try your luck with scherenschnitte on eggs.
The final chapter details the history of scherenschnitte in countries such as China, Poland, Persia, and Germany. Illustrations of this craft by its most famous practitioners are also included.
I very much hope that a new edition of this book will find its way into print, so that everyone who is interested in this attractive art form can afford to buy a copy. It is truly the `bible' of scherenschnitte.