The lovely photo prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday challenge was a vintage photograph of Maypole dancers. This reminded me that I had an old ‘papercut’ picture, hanging on the bedroom wall, of children dancing round a tree. The picture has always reminded me of a cross between ring-a-ring-a-roses and Maypole dancing. I am sentimentally attached to my picture because it was a gift to me, about 47 years ago, from my Austrian friend Viktoria. I was an exchange student (aged 13) and I was staying with her family in a village (now a town), not far from Vienna, called Wolkersdorf. The picture hung on the wall in her bedroom, and I admired it so much that she generously handed it to me there and then. It has been everywhere with me since then and has even been re-framed (a delicate operation as the papercut was not glued down as you might think, and was like a piece of lace). I have tried to find out about its history, as I think it must have been pretty old already, but drawn a blank. I would particularly like to know the translation of the German word in the bottom left hand corner, if anyone can help. Papercutting is an an ancient craft and examples are found all over the world. It is thought to have originated in China in the 1st century. There are thousands of fine examples on the internet, both images and videos, and just initiating a google search will take you into a silhouette art gallery.
I have tried the craft myself, but with variable results. I bought this book as inspiration. I found a similar design on page 31, of children acting out the ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ nursery rhyme. It still looked too tricky for me. The book has lots of tips and templates and I did manage to produce a decent image of an artist for my Dad’s 90th birthday card, using this image in the book.