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Scherenschnitte by Clifford Nevin



Scherenschnitte (scissor cutting) in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition is derived from the Swiss-German technique of cutting one piece of folded paper in a continuous design. Mechanical instruments such as compasses, rulers punches and awls were employed. The earliest known pieces (from the 16th century) have religious themes.

The art of Scherenschnitte was brought to America in the late 18th century by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. At first Scherenschnitte was mainly used for fancy borders surrounding handwriting samples such as alphabets, Bible verses, certificates and love letters (later evolving into Valentines). Paper was folded and then cut -- when opened it revealed a symmetrical design upon which verses were written and then color added.

Later Scherenschnitte was put to more practical use as mantle paper, table doilies, and Christmas ornaments. But some artist of that era discovered that paper cutting was a highly creative medium. Unshackled from traditions and methods they used whatever paper scissors or knives they had on hand. Some added texture to their work with pin pricks of various sizes. These artists also freely applied color and tinsel to their work.

A native of Lancaster County Clifford Nevin has been creating Scherenschnitte for over twenty years. His work is regularly shown in the most prestigious juried art shows in the Mid-Atlantic region. Besides being lovely, his works are very carefully made with great attention to detail.

  • He begins each piece by staining 55lb. acid free sheet of paper with a strong coffee solution
  • The design is then cut into the paper (with a single fold if the design is symmetric) with a craft knife
  • Next stain is selectively removed with brush and water. With some works decorative details are added with a pencil.
  • The finished cutting is then coated with a protective matte finish, then mounted onto an acid free black matte paper board, and signed by the artist. Finally Clifford Nevin sets the finished work behind glass in in exquisite burl veneer wooden frame.

The artist makes each piece to order, allow up to 30 days for delivery.

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Last Updated: August 19, 2017, 4:30 pm
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