Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Paper trees

In moving, I have come across several things that I forgot I ever had. One was a manilla envelope with some trees I cut from paper many, many years ago.

I remember that I saw a picture in a magazine of white trees, cut from paper that seemed so clean and pure in their design that they traveled around in my head until I could no longer resist the need to try to make one. I folded two sheets of paper together and stapled them together, then took a little pair of surgical scissors and started cutting through all four layers. No drawing. No plan. Just cutting. And to my utter amazement I had a pretty little tree with a star on the top and birds on its branches.

For the next week, every time I had a spare moment I was cutting trees. I threw the duds away, but I kept the best of the bunch. They decorated our mantel that Christmas, then I folded them up, put them in the envelope and only remembered to take them out a few times in the ensuing years. One year I decided to try making more and all were utter failures. Then I forgot about them completely until they turned up during the move.

I hope I'm not bragging when I say there was something kind of magical about those trees—all cut in the space of a frenetic week or so, never to be repeated. Over the next few weeks I will share the rest of them with you. I hope you enjoy them. I almost feel like someone else made them. A gift from my much younger self.


I hope you all have spread the word about the danger of small children swallowing batteries. Sandy's grandchild is recovering, but has been very, very ill and is still in the hospital. This was not trivial. You can read the details on her blog. This was a wakeup call for us to assess our house for this and other dangers.


  1. I love the paper cut tree and I think it is magical.

  2. Anonymous11:28 PM

    I like you blog very much!!!

  3. Anonymous11:32 PM

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  4. Anonymous3:55 AM

    Terry-I have been admiring your art for some time now. Your results just look so clean and effortless-very nice to look at.

    PS> I feel like we are neighbors sort of-I am in CA, SF East Bay and have been to Portland. My husband and I enjoyed it there very much.
    Thanks, Libby F.

  5. Lovely! Certainly not bragging. I am thrilled that you shared and so eager to see more. Even though they were made many years ago, your style is still clear.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing the trees. There is something magical about them - the shape, the color, your interpretation of nature and the gracefulness.

  7. Your tree is beautiful and so talented to be able to cut it like that free handed. Can't wait to see the rest.

  8. Wow so impressive and how frustrating for you to have those brief few days of cutting skillzzzzz haha. Priorities priorities! I don;t know which I love more your birds or your trees now. birds... no trees no BIRDS no TREES!

  9. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Your trees remind me of the Christmas theme Starbucks had last year. Yours have lasted very well thru the years. Starbucks trees looked like hell at the end of the season. Moving is like going on a scavenger hunt. You never know what kind of treasures you will unearth!

  10. Anonymous6:24 PM

    Having attempted a similar feat out of cloth for DGD a few months ago, and seeing my absurd first try, I am truly humbled. I'd say you were channeling someone or something that day--that tree is simply inspired. Lovely, lovely--and you sound as awed as we are!

    PS Yes, I sent everyone I know a link to the post about batteries. Very timely warning this time of year too.

  11. Terry, the tree IS magical! What a wonderful find!

  12. neat tree. healing wishes to sandy's grandchild.