Linda Emmerson, Papercutter

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Papercutting is an art form that is practiced in many different countries and with many different styles and techniques. Linda Emmerson has developed a style all her own; her commissions include commemoratives for births, weddings, anniversaries, retirements and special events. She also produces illustrations for books, poems, calendars, and nursery rhymes.

Artist's Statement

During a family visit to Switzerland in 1976 I first heard the incomprehensible word "Scherenschnitt" (Scissors cutting).

Our Swiss architect friend then drove us to the small town of Chateau d'Oex where a very small museum has a collection of wonderful papercuttings by the earliest Swiss masters of the art. Johann Jacob Hauswirt and Louis Saugy were, in the mid-1800's, creating marvelous stylized scenes of country life with its rituals and celebrations of the seasons.

I was fascinated by the intricate, evocative and bold images. I knew immediately that I had to find a way to do this.

Up to that point, I had been an architectural draftsman, technical illustrator for a university press, and a crafts designer for a DIY magazine. Now, as a full-time mum, papercutting took over my creative life.

I use places where we visit and live for inspiration. Iowa, as we know, is not flat. The agricultural landscape has a special beauty, which is alternately admired and cursed by the 10,000 intrepid bicyclists who cross the state each year on an organized ride in July. Corn stalks and bikers figure often in my papercuts.

Being avid Anglophiles, we spend part of each year in London. This provides endless inspiration -- from the tourist heart of the city to neighborhoods, the Thames, nursery rhymes and the Little Angel Marionette Theatre, where I volunteer in the workshop whenever possible.

As a member of the Guild of American Papercutters, I have participated in exhibitions in Maryland, Massachusetts , Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Most recently, I was part of the group exhibited in Vreden, Germany, the home of the only museum in the world devoted to the art and craft of papercutting.


To contact Linda, click here
View her resume here

 I have also had shows in London and many places in Iowa. For a time, a poster illustrating Dr. Johnson's famous words: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life," was being sold at the Museum of London.

Awards: Best in Show, Octagon Center for the Arts, 1988, and the Iowa State University Alumni Show, 1980 and 1986.

In permanent collections: The Brunnier Art Museum, The Christian Peterson Museum and the Memorial Union at Iowa State University, Ames, IA; Iowa House at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Ames Public Library, Ames, IA.

After 20 years of drawing with a T-square and triangle, my new career, now at 35 years and counting, continues to be a liberating source of great satisfaction, discovery and fun.

January 2013