Scissor Cuts/Scherenschnitte: Jessica Richter and Waltraude Stehwien

November 2 – December 17, 2020

Richter and Stehwien employ creativity to express landscape, scene and image with cut paper. This collection ranges from traditional German papercutting to papercut evolved into sculpture. 


Scherenschnitte (scissor cuts) is an art form where silhouettes are cut from one piece of special black paper with scissors or knives with no ‘hangers’ -unattached pieces. Scissor cutting has a long history in German folk art; immigrants brought Scherenschnitte to North America in the 17th Century. Reflecting the Canadian artists in Scissor Cuts/Scherenschnitte, this collection of works ranges from traditional German Scherenschnitte represented by Waltraude Stehwien, a German immigrant, to papercut evolved into sculpture by Jess Richter – second generation born in Canada.

Employing creativity to express a landscape, scene and image with cut paper requires precision in drawing as well as dexterity of cutting. Stehwien prefers scissors as they ‘bite’ the paper; designing her pieces by drawing out her complete design, reworking it on the back of the traditional black paper before making any cuts. While Stehwien enjoys the challenging restrictions of traditional Scherenschnitte, Richter explores all that paper can do. Richter, preferring the Exacto knife, works more organically, creating pieces for her sculptures as she goes. Neither artist likes using computers in their art. In Stehwien’s opinion, “Computers are remote. Art is sensual.” Righter reluctantly learned computer drafting for her MFA degree from the U of R but prefers the ‘tactileness’ of pencil (or knife) to paper.

This exhibit is a special partnership with the Saskatchewan German Council. Toured through OSAC’s Arts on the Move program.