item two in the cabinet of curiosities

Paper castle (The Steadfast Tin Soldier)
I recently learned that Hans Christian Andersen was not only a talented storyteller, but that he also had a talent for paper cutouts. 250 examples of Andersen's paper artworks survive and most of them are housed in the collection of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, Denmark.
I couldn't resist buying a copy of a lovely book by Beth Wagner Brust about Andersen's paper works. I've posted a selection of images from the book that show his considerable skill in this artform. Apparently when he was telling his stories to groups of children he would simultaneously be snipping away at a piece of folded paper with a very large pair of scissors . When the story ended he would unfold the paper cutting and reveal the completed design, much to the delight of his young audience.

Andersen gave away many paper cutouts as gifts. The intricate example above was a special present he made for a little girl called Marie to celebrate her fourth birthday.

I'll be incorporating some very basic paper cutouts as a design element in my cabinet of curiosities, as well as in the design for some of the items inside it. My version of the paper castle that features in 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier' is a combination of simple paper cutouts and simple pop-up forms. In the story the one legged tin soldier falls in love with a beautiful paper ballerina he sees posed on one leg in the doorway of the toy paper castle. He mistakenly thinks that she has only one leg like him.


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