Arts·Paper Cuts

Kelly Pousette had a fear of the forest, but her paper cut dioramas helped her find joy in the wild

"Now when we go hiking, I see them as these peaceful beautiful places that they are."

'Now when we go hiking, I see them as these peaceful beautiful places that they are'

Kelly Pousette had a fear of the forest, but her paper cut dioramas helped her find joy in the wild

CBC Arts

2 years ago
6:42
"To help with my fear, I started creating in my mind these happy forests where jolly animals lived in harmony together...Now when we go hiking, I see them as these peaceful beautiful places that they are." 6:42

This video is part of our new series Paper Cuts, in which you get to be hypnotized by artists doing incredible things with paper, scissors, glue sticks and X-Acto knives.

About seven years ago, illustrator Kelly Pousette started cutting out elements of her illustrations and propping them up on her desk. She'd photograph them with mood lighting, creating tiny worlds at different times of day, populated with woodland creatures and fairy tale trees. She says, "I felt I could make them come alive."

And she did. Social media responded, and her newly formed paper cut art practice flourished. After some time, Pousette started creating 3D shadow boxes that she could light and photograph, making the resulting photos the final iteration of her art. She now works with a wide variety of media and paper types. Nothing is off-limits, as long as it helps to create a scene she's already visualized. But cutting and posing paper is always central to her work. 

(Kelly Pousette)
When I was a kid growing up some of my favourite books were pop-up books and books that had doors in them and little secrets hidden behind things. I think I'm always trying to work toward that in my scenes with paper cut pieces.- Kelly Pousette
(Kelly Pousette)

In this video made by filmmaker Dan Pousette (note: he's also Kelly Pousette's husband), you'll witness the artist making a work from scratch, re-creating tiny details like branches, knots in a tree trunk and the tiny animals that live in her forest.

And there's a sort of magic that has happened as a result of Pousette creating these paper dioramas — she's no longer scared of the dense woods around her Prince George home. As Pousette will tell you, she first found the forest intimidating. Now, she says, "In making these dioramas it's actually sort of helped me get over this fear of these places. Now when we go hiking or bushwhacking or whatever, I see them as these peaceful beautiful places that they are, and not so fearful."

Kelly Pousette looks out in the forest near her home. (CBC Arts)
I moved up north about seven and we started hiking through these really dense forests. It took me a really long time to get over my fear of the forests and of the denseness of the trees. To help with my fear of it I started creating in my mind these happy forests where jolly animals lived in harmony together.- Kelly Pousette
(Kelly Pousette)

Kelly Pousette has illustrated two published children's books, and three more are being released in 2020 - including Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress on March 3. You can follow Pousette, and her art, here. And stay tuned for more Paper Cuts artists to come!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an art history instructor and is always quite terrified of bees.

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