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Presenting Annie Vought’s ‘Paper Cut Letters’


Handwritten Annie Vought Introduction

Image of Annie Vought's 'Get out of Study Hall'
‘Get out of Study Hall’ by Annie Vought (2009)
(Image © Annie Vought)
Close Up Image of Annie Vought's 'Get out of Study Hall'
‘Get out of Study Hall’ (Close Up) by Annie Vought (2009)
(Image © Annie Vought)

Genius is eternal patience. (Michelangelo)

If Michelangelo was right, then Annie Vought must be a genius. Her work surely requires endless patience… Can you imagine the hours each intricately cut piece must take? I think it is absolutely beautiful and I would love to see it in person.

As someone who loves receiving a handwritten letter or note in the mail, for me Annie Vought’s work celebrates the handwritten word in a way that is impossible to appreciate with the more impersonal immediacy of the type-written electronic communication. And yet, here I am sharing her story with you on a blog…

Email, text messages and Twitter provide us with the ability to stay in touch as never before, but with it we lose “fragments of individual histories. In the penmanship, word choice, and spelling the author is often revealed in spite of him/herself. A letter is physical confirmation of who we were at the moment it was written, or all we have left of a person or a time”, says Annie.

For the last four years, Annie has meticulously recreated notes and letters that she has found, written, or received. She does this by enlarging the documents onto a new piece of paper and intricately dissecting the negative spaces with a blade.  The handwriting and the lines support the structure of the cut paper, keeping it strong and sculptural, despite its apparent fragility. She says that in these paper cutouts, she focuses “on the text, structure, and emotion of the letter in an elaborate investigation into the properties of writing and expression. Penmanship, word choice, and spelling all contribute to possible narratives about who that person is and what they are like.”

Image of Annie Vought's 'Get out of Study Hall'
‘In the Beginning’ by Annie Vought (2009)
(Image © Annie Vought)
'Dear Annie' by Annie Vought (2007)
‘Dear Annie’ by Annie Vought (2007)
(Image © Annie Vought)
Close Up Image of 'Dear Annie' by Annie Vought (2007)
‘Dear Annie’ (Close Up) by Annie Vought (2007)
(Image © Annie Vought)
Image of Annie Vought's 'I Took The Girl To Walk In Circles'
‘I took the girl to walk in circles’ by Annie Vought (2012)
 (Image © Annie Vought)

Annie Vought’s work features in Paper Works which is available on Amazon here.

Go and check out her website here. She looks like a groovy chick, and has also started a whimsical looking collaboration, entitled ‘Double Zero, with fellow artist and friend, Hannah Ireland.

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Comments (18)

She is amazing isn’t she, I have done a couple of pieces of blade work , nothing anywhere as fine as this and I know the patience and tenacity it takes to do that (not to mention the arm ache)…. so I cannot imagine how long these take, they are so fine. I love “I took the girl to walk in circles” especially the fact she has still left in the ink blob!!

I loved that piece, too, BCD. I can’t imagine the hours and hours of work. I thought I would do a paper cut introducing Annie, but it was taking me so damn long that I gave up and hand wrote it instead! My hands are not cut out for fine motor skills like paper cutting and crochet! 🙂

Wow! That must be so fiddly. Can you imagine getting to the bottom of one of those and making a wrong cut! Thanks for showing us such a range of creative people and what they do.

Zac – the eye for detail and steadiness of hand is inconceivable to me. Truly. Just amazing, isn’t it?

Certainly a lot of work and a fair bit of talent has gone into these.

You got that right, Mags. 🙂

I agree with Zac. I’d have to use that knife to slit my own throat if I got to all the way to the bottom and THEN made a mistake!

OK – please never-ever try paper cutting, WIM2S. I get too much pleasure out of reading about your shenanigans (and those of Wonderbutt, Dimples, Cap’n Firepants et al). I would miss you.

I will resist the temptation, then…

Syders, do you mean that all the white space in the last image, for example, has been blade cut so only the running writing supports the document? How did she get in between the curved letters? I am baffled every time I read a post of yours- I have never (except for Aesop, I think) seen any of the work by those artists you introduce to us. Thanks for wowing me with this one. I would like to test my patience…

That is exactly what I mean! I started to attempt a very small paper cut introducing her work and gave up. It was so painstaking. I think Annie’s work is just incredible and I’m very pleased to have introduced her art to a new admirer! Thanks, M 🙂

It is pretty amazing, and i think she should be exhibiting these artworks. She should also give tutorials on her technique! I liked your first image – your handwritten note. That was cute! (how did you do that?)

That was a late addition, after my failed attempt at paper cutting. The iPhone can work miracles, Marina! Nothing fancy there, Photography Chick! 🙂

Is that your handwriting then? Very neat!

I love this! You have a really steady hand, I’ve tried cutting curves with the Xacto knife many times, it’s quite a feat when it’s just one, but to do a whole letter..

Amazing detail isn’t it,LXAX. Glad you love it! 🙂

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