Great Appreciation for Papercutting

This week I finally launched into my way overdue Advent devotional. I knew that I wanted to attempt paper cutting, especially after Renee sent me this amazing web site All About Paper Cutting by Elsa Mora. Her work is amazing! And intimidating.

So after thinking, and thinking, and thinking about this project, I finally dove in. It looks easy, but it is not. I totally cheated by laying out my text in InDesign and creating a mirror image so that I had an easy guide. But even with the outlines of the text, my lines aren’t smooth. Sometimes I would slip and almost slice off part of a letter. And after a good solid six hours or cutting, I had immense shoulder pain for a few days. So bad, I have managed to break my horrible habit of sleeping on my stomach for the last 34 years.

So maybe I need to lighten up to avoid the shoulder tension. I am not sure, but I guess this is another paper project where practice makes perfect. I guess I need to spend more time studying (and drooling) over Elsa’s extensive list of links and her own creations.

I will try paper cutting again. I think…

Last night we had a great group meeting about a book we have been reading by Madeline L’Engle called “Walking on Water.” Parts of it seem way out there. Like we are only limited to this earth as Jesus is. So yes, we can walk on water, float down stairs, time travel, regrow lost fingers, etc. One thing she brought up was the use of language in church.

Our discussion was the resolution I was missing on this piece. I needed to write about what brought me to the decisions that I made. It certainly was not my intent to alienate anyone from connecting with God by using a translation that uses the word “man.” Instead this version of the text is based on my childhood memories. And if you know anything about me, I would say that I have based my career on exploring my childhood experiences, including one of my favorites, Charlie Brown Christmas.


The words of Luke 2:14 have been memorialized throughout so many of my favorite celebrations of the Christmas season, especially Christmas carols, which I absolutely adore. It came upon a midnight clear, Gloria, Angels We have Heard on High, and my very favorite, Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

As I sing along, I am taken back to my favorite holiday memory of the ending of The Charlie Brown Christmas Special, where Charlie Brown and his friends gather around his little tree to sing this hymn in unison.

The scene that moves me the most is when Linus answers Charlie Brown’s question of “Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?” Linus promptly takes center stage and requests, “Lights, please.” If you are like me, you can probably quote the scene verbatim.

As I thought about creating a piece for my advent devotional, my mind was full of the bright colors of the 50s cartoon set – the hot pink curtains, the lavender back drop, and Linus’ orange coat and chartreuse hat. Yet, these colors have nothing to do with visions of angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth, which I imagine were rich, lush night blues, glimmering brilliant whites, and golden rays of heavenliness glowing from the neutral tones of the rustic manger.

In short, I took the more traditional route by selecting a lustrous color palette and paid homage to my childhood with the selection of the same traditional translation of Luke 2:14 that Linus used. And finally using a traditional medium of paper cutting to express the glorious nature of the message shared so many years ago.

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3 Comments

  1. Jess Lynd

    c- your post made me miss…everything.

    good luck with the paper cutting.

    luv jess

  2. Caroline Armijo

    Oh, I miss you, too! Please come home soon. There is no one else who quite brings out my eccentricities like you.

    Love you!

  3. Renee

    This is beautiful! We’ll have to get out the exacto knives the next time we see each other.

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