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The Live Hand-Cut Silhouette. A nearly lost art form?

April 27, 2014

Carol&girlWideSilhouettes. I really didn’t know much about them. I had seen the black cut out images in peoples homes before. I have studied art & photography and come across the silhouette. But use silhouettes in my jewelry line? I wasn’t so sure. Well I’ve changed my tune and here is why…

A few years ago my brother, who is an artist, wanted me to make silhouette charms for his wife, Sara. I tried to say no. I knew it would be a huge challenge. But he was really insistent and ready, willing and able to draw the outlined images of his two cherubs and hand them over.  And he is my little bro and I couldn’t say no. Giving the silhouette charms the H&S style factor would be difficult. I had seen silhouette jewelry before and it was not my cup of tea…a little too cute. What to do?



I wanted something reminiscent of a large coin. So, with some difficulty and few mis-steps I finally made the 1st of these coin style silhouette charms. At the time I thought they were way too difficult and I would never ever make them again! It was Sara’s idea to wear them on 2 separate long chains at slightly different lengths. Love that!


Fast forward a few years….We’ve learned a lot and cutting silhouettes in metal no longer seems such a daunting task. Check out the silhouette charm page with instructions on how to take good photos and order one of these. Or better yet read on because here is the fun part! There’s an even better way to get a your silhouettes. A few years ago I was at a craft fair and saw someone cutting silhouettes in black paper with just a tiny pair of scissors. The line was long and she the working hard! I was busy at my own booth so didn’t think much of it at the time but now that I was playing around with silhouettes I was curious. We did a little homework and found that Hand-Cut Silhouettes are nearly a lost art form from the 1700’s -predating photography by about 100 years. Silhouette cutting began as a popular alternative to expensive commissioned oil portraits. Although regaining popularity, this precious art form is still hard to find: only a handful of artists in the world still practice it today. There are about 20 silhouettes artists working in the US and one happens to live in my hometown. Coincidence? I think not! We got in touch with her immediately!

Thursday August 6th famed Silhouette Artist Carol Lebeaux will be here at Heart and Stone Jewelry in Northboro cutting live silhouettes so be sure to book your slot! Get all the details & pricing here. 

carol Cutting 2It was great to have Carol in the shop. Not only is she a talented artist she is an amazing person with lots of great stories. In between sittings she shared tales of how she came to be in Vogue Magazine and how she coordinated an evening of silhouettes artists from around the country to cut silhouettes for Estee Lauder’s 500 guests!

Carol cut silhouettes of my two kids too! The cool thing is when she cuts them she folds the paper so you really can get two silhouettes at the same time facing in opposite directions. There really is quite artistry to this. Carol explained how the silhouette artists makes subtle variations when they cut to better translate the 3D object into this 2 dimensional heirloom. I now have a the perfect mother’s day gift all done and matted for both my mom and my mother- in-law. Plus I can’t wait to make my own Coin Style Silhouette Medallions for me using scans of carol’s silhouettes! Carol will be back at Heart and Stone this Tuesday April 29th. Book your 10 minute slots today! 

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