This project started three years ago when I was lasercutting an edition of “prints” for a gallery show of Virginia Flynn’s artwork. She wanted a way to produce small editions of the papercuts she made by hand. We made large scale versions with Fabriano paper using our laser cutters.
We got to talking about the shadows visible when the papercuts are displayed in galleries. The shadows are incredible and become part of the art. I wondered about using a small powerful flashlight that could be focused to put on a shadow show.
I played with different sizes of the work and tons of different flashlights trying to find just the right combination. This idea turned into a book structure so all the images could stay in sequence.
I’ve been intrigued by how we as individuals hold communal stories. I was drawn to the Hansel & Gretel fairytale because there are so many ‘official’ versions of the story. The original fairytale was so bleak that the Brothers Grimm felt the need to lighten it up. Over the years they changed it seven times. It was originally a story created by the depths of famine where parents were forced to kill their children... not exactly a lighthearted romp through the woods! We all know different versions of the story. I wanted the book to include the main touchpoints but be flexible enough so the reader could adapt it for any audience.
Virginia started with this idea and then created five wonderful papercuts that defined the story. We reduced the scale of her large format papercuts so they fit in a compact book. The lasercut artwork can be viewed as a book or projected to create a great shadow show on any wall. Each panel of art has a small amount of accompanying text to highlight the action. The text is not weighted with any one of the many versions so you’re free to tell your own story.
My goal is to further extend the book with a website that will include different scripts, sound effects, and links to other Hansel & Gretel resources. I envision a site where you can download mp3’s of sound effects to add to your shadow theatre show: birdsongs for the forest section, creepy wind sounds, and other sound effects.
The books will be bound by hand in Portland, Oregon. The deluxe version will come with a flashlight in a walnut wooden box. It will be signed by the artist and the designer. The basic version will come in an acid free paper portfolio with a wooden base. Both versions come with little walnut page holders in the shape of a witch’s cottage to keep the spreads open for show.
You can see more of Virginia Flynn’s work on her site: www.ginflynncuts.com
This video uses these sounds from freesound.org under Creative Commons Attribution license: “01didudeda.wav” by signorvaso; “89 mana synth.wav” by Thirsk; “Resonant Swell.mp3” by TheFrohman; “forest.mp3” by kast6453; “mf3b7 92 whisperers.mp3” by ERH; “all out crying” by 11linda
Risks and challenges
The design work is done. All the prototypes have been finished. The imported Italian paper is in stock. We're ready to go!
Hand bookbinding is a slow process but we're used to doing large editions. Our last kickstarter project shipped right on time and we fully expect this one will also be on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)