People on Paper: Snip, snip, snip the mixed media titanium bonded scissors were up to the task that laid before them. Carol Margaret, with shears in hand, had neatly stacked various colored papers on the table before her, with every intention of crafting snowflake looking paper cutouts. She picked up an 8.5 x 11 sheet of white paper. Carefully folding it from right to left on its vertical plane. Then she would fold again, and again until it measured no more than an inch and a half or so horizontally, and by four and half inches or so vertically.
For a woman who was just a few days away from her 80th birthday, Carol Margaret thought to herself, “this is pretty silly for me to be doing these childish cutouts.” The truth is, she had not done anything like this since she was in grade school. She was reminiscing about those December cold wintry months, and the days that led up to Christmas. Virtually all school kids of that age were busily making Christmas decorations, and of course very artistic looking snowflakes, with good instructions from their teachers. Soon they would make their way home and be gifted to their moms and dads for decorations around the home.
It was one of those reminiscences that people have a tendency to latch onto as they get older. Carol Margaret gave her scissor work careful consideration. It all started with an idea she had when she was standing in the stationary area of a Dollar Tree Store. Even though it was severely picked over, right in front of Carol Margaret was stacks of colored paper. There were even a few sheets that were snow white in color. That’s when she had the idea to make some paper cutouts. She had a good pair of scissors that she purchased earlier that were Swiss made and managed to hold their edge all these years.
Sitting at her kitchen table and actually admiring all of the materials she collected that were laying before her. Carol Margaret grabbed a piece of that construction type paper and started in on her creations. Snipping away, one by one, she started to make doily like cut outs, and many of them looked like snowflakes. She thought to herself, “I know this is ridiculous but I am having the time of my life, and there’s no one here to see me or for that matter even judge me.” Carol Margaret lost her husband many years before. The only real contact she had with the outside world was at her job as a receptionist, and she gave that up years before.
Holding up before her a sheet of pink paper, she had the idea to cut out silhouettes of people. She folded that sheet of pink paper several times, and then drew the silhouette of a person. She thought to herself, “this is going to take some serious handling and manipulation of my scissors to make this work.” But before long she managed to have her first little people cutouts. When she unfolded the paper there was a string of people that looked like they were all holding hands. She was boastfully proud in her thoughts that she managed to pull this off.
As she looked at the string of people she managed to create out of the selected pink paper, she decided to do a couple more. One group looked more like women, the other group was definitely more masculine looking. But in reality the only thing that really changed was the hair shape on top of each of the figures heads. Then something completely changed for her as she held these people figures that were connected like an accordion fold.
Carol Margaret held one set of cut out people in her left hand; those were the male figures. In her right hand was a set of the female figures. Staring at these cutouts of people she thought to herself, “these are People on Paper.” But her thoughts did not stop there. She started to become both melancholy and philosophical at the same time. Reminiscing through her experiences in life, she thought that cutting people out of paper was most revealing to the person behind the scissors. She wondered to herself what this really meant for her, and perhaps for others.
A conclusion as to what cut out figures on paper really meant to her, or at least by her way of thinking was hard to come up with a solid philosophy that she felt actually meant something. Carol Margaret’s thoughts became increasingly more orderly.
Carol Margaret proclaimed to herself, “people are on paper everywhere. Virtually everything we do invariably leads back to paper.” it certainly has been true throughout most of her life.” She, like many people of her generation, had a filing cabinet that contained numerous paper documents, and old letters. Each of them revealed something about her. She even had a special drawer filled with greeting cards that she received over the years. Again paper, paper everywhere.
Remembering that she used to like to make drawings of people, especially when she was younger. Carol Margaret again thought, “the mere fact that I would draw people on paper was, people on paper.” Was there anything particularly profound about all this paper stuff going on inside Carol Margaret’s head? Well not necessarily, but it is true that paper, once invented, started to rule mankind. It could be argued that virtually all knowledge was originally, at one point printed on paper. People got their news by reading a newspaper.
You may want to get a stack of paper, and your favorite pair of scissors, and see what your paper cutouts reveal to you. It’s not deeply philosophical, nor is it a form of therapy, at least not for most. This is the month of December and there are many celebrations taking place. And maybe for you, the most celebrated of celebrations you could have for yourself, is with a stack of different colored pieces of paper and a pair of scissors. Will it change your life? Probably not. But it just might rekindle that childhood wonderment that we all had at one time.
“The scissors became self-directed in my trembling hand. Cutouts of people on paper
became its command.”
Rod Jones Artist