One of my favorite boutiques to visit for silhouette events is Southern Belles in Mt. Pleasant. I was just there again this past weekend and as usual, we had a very full day. I got to see many familiar faces and meet many new people as well as new parents. And I love seeing the children as they get older and are proud to be described as "big boys and girls." As usual, I left the shop with plenty of "homework." By that I mean, orders placed for products featuring specific silhouettes or pencil portraits. I'm working on the portraits already. And for the ornaments and pendants, I will be letting a colleague take that over for me. I'll take orders - business, as usual, and then I will pass them to her to fill and ship. But I'll write more about that later. (Perhaps the next post). For now, I wanted to leave you with an image of one of the pencil portraits. They each take about 45 minutes for me to complete. They are very stress free, which is what I like about silhouettes too, being so fast to sit for. For pencil portraits, I take photographs in the boutique and they are very informal, casual and simple. Then when I get home, I enlarge the photographs on my computer and draw them as though they were sitting across from me. After that, I slip them into a plastic sleeve and ship back to the store for pick up. These were the stepping stone for me getting into silhouettes. I learned drawing from my mother who learned from her mother who was taught by hers... I love how pencil, being such a soft medium, can create such soft effects which is perfect for children! (Tap on the images to see them progress)
Here's my three year old running a tight ship in the studio downtown last spring. I still have two walls of my studio while Kathy (a jeweler) occupies the rest. This has been working out just fine as I come and go when I like for appointments etc. But Sunday, Parks came with me for the first time in a while and broke down on the floor crying. He liked it the way it was and missed the basket of toys I had always kept on hand. I almost cried with him. Instead, I took him to O'Cha to get a big cookie and that cheered us up. Yay cookies.
Just finished another full figure silhouette scene! These are becoming so popular. Want to know the process? First of all, just so you know, I can do these by photographs that you email to me. I do the standard head/shoulder silhouettes by email for people all over the states and abroad. If you can take some snapshots of your kids from the side (as though photographing the ear), then you can email a group to me and I can take it from there. Bur for this example, we first made an appointment at my studio. (See the "schedule" page). It took about 10 minutes for me to take some photographs. This is really stress free so if you are taking the photos yourself, keep that in mind. Hardly any of the photos are 100% translatable into the silhouettes I end up making. I use the photographs to note size proportion and their individual profiles, postures, stance, clothing... I may take the best arms from one photo and the best feet position from another and so on. I make a few rough sketches to come up with the best arrangement. Once I have a sketch I like, I hand cut it in the special silhouette paper with careful attention to make the subjects look as much like the models as possible. Finally, I mount the paper onto acid free bristol board paper. If you'd like, some background elements can be added for context. The size depends on the final hand cut paper dimensions but I usually mount them onto 12x12 or 11x14 or 12x16 or 12x18 inches... depending on how many subjects there are and the scene etc. The price is $45 per subject so for two girls it would be $90 for the two shown in the center. This customer requested extra elements for a background setting and that is usually an extra $30 (depending again, on the amount of cutting and the level of detail etc.).
Here is a recent full figure silhouette I just completed of a young ballerina who came into the studio. (This is the "negative" part leftover - I forgot to take a photo of the actual cutout) I'll attach a copy of some of the sketches I used before selecting a pose. These poses are great - I want to do watercolor washes of this beautiful ballerina. Degas would have loved her!
Just wanted to let you know that I am still taking appointments for silhouettes at my downtown studio, in my home studio (Piedmont), and through Etsy and Email. The only orders I would not be able to do right now are the silhouette products I usually feature - like ornaments, pendants, etc. But since silhouettes are completed within 5 minutes, those are no problem. I am also able to do (and love doing!) the train theme, sibling and all full figure head to toe silhouettes as well. Pencil portraits are also available now for $100.00 per face. (They will go up to $125 once Halloween has past and then $150 per face in December to control my workflow at the holiday season.) For weddings, I am able to do weddings in the immediate future or for 2014. When I say immediate future, that holds for any time you read this as long as I have not posted that our house has sold. Otherwise, I can probably predict weekends that are fairly close. I will post on my website any news on the house selling and our moving dates. So until then, I'm still very much in business with only a few stipulations as noted above.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Greenville. I grew up here and watched it change into this beautiful, friendly, community I've been so proud to call home. Having a studio right in the heart of downtown Greenville has been amazing! Business has been wonderful! I have you to thank for that! ...However, I have an announcement. My husband's job has transferred him to Houston, TX. It isn't just a project this time, so my children and I are all going to make this move to Texas with him. We will move as soon as our house sells so it should be sometime over this summer or early fall... I am hoping to make this move as seamless as possible for my business and there are 3 things you should know.
- I am keeping a portion of my studio downtown. I've trained the artist in my space now (Kathy Albertelli - jewelry) to take and electronically send me photos of profiles for anyone wanting silhouettes. (I'm used to doing silhouettes for people all over the states and even abroad from photos emailed to me.)
- I will be traveling back to Greenville now and then to visit family - and I plan to announce those dates through FB and email as they come in hopes of doing silhouettes for people while in town. (I also plan to visit some of the boutiques now and then too.)
- I will still travel to do weddings and events - just starting from a different airport.
For anyone wanting silhouettes or pencil portraits, before I leave for Texas, I'm still going to the studio for appointments. You can schedule a time at this link: http://heartpaperscissors.com/schedule/
Or if you'd like to send me photos of your children for silhouettes or pencil portraits, here are some tips at this link: http://heartpaperscissors.com/silhouettes/order-by-email/
In the mean time, I'll keep you posted as for when this move will take place. Our house is on the market - we will move as soon as it sells. That could happen fast... or it could take a while... I'm just not sure of that yet.
Parks in the foreground with customers in the more recent 109 studio.
Ben and Elizabeth enjoying a picnic outside my 201 Studio about 5 summers ago.
Click on "Jewelry" page or above image to see more! Back in 2006, I decided I would like to wear a pendant with my children's silhouettes - similar to a classic cameo necklace. Since I couldn't find anyone who could make it quite the way I saw it in my head, I read books and asked experts and through many attempts and failures and trial and error (which seems to be my method all too often) I was very proud to have made my first oval, glass dome, lace edged pendant that I first began wearing in 2007. I thought it would be nice to wear to boutiques and silhouette events so people would know that I was the silhouette artist. But when the mothers began asking how much it would be to get one featuring their own children's silhouettes, I realized I was on to something. The same thing had happened when I made myself a simple, porcelain ornament with my children's silhouette featured front and center along with name and date. As soon as I showed a few people, everyone wanted to order one. This is when I realized that my reputation for being excessively sentimental and conventional was a common thread that I shared with my customers and helped me to be more intuitive as to what they'd like. So I pulled out note cards I had made for myself, enclosure cards I had used for the children's birthday gifts, stickers I had made, the pillow that sat on my sofa, the mug I used for hot chocolate... all these items I had been slapping the silhouettes onto for my own enjoyment, and I introduced "a collection" from which people could order so they could see the images of their children's charming silhouettes all over their own house. Why silhouettes? There is a certain charm and mystery in a silhouette. It is a view of the person that they are not used to seeing, yet people who look upon them are very familiar with the side. It's the view people see when they are being a spectator and observing what makes you so unique. As parents, it's the view we see so often when we just sit and observe our child at play and we smile to see them content or in thought. We know every curve and the way they hold their mouth when they read a book, or build a tower of blocks. We know their posture and recognize their unique stance. I get so amazed at how incredibly unique a person's profile is - it astounds me that basically, a black "blob" of paper, can be such an accurate, recognizable image of a specific person. We all have photographs of our children that hang on the wall. Some photographs will stay on the wall for a year or two. Some may hang in a spot for several years. But photographs do become dated. At some point, you can tell that the photo is just old. The way they dress, the hairstyle, the background... so many factors. But a silhouette and yes, a painted portrait (my other favorite), will stay hanging on a wall for not just years, but generations! People will eventually take down the photograph of "Henry" in his baseball uniform, but "Uncle Henry's" silhouette (or a painting of Uncle Henry)... that's a work of art and it is an entirely different category. I've been offering base metal jewelry and I've collaborated with professional jewelers to offer pendants in gold or silver as well. But now, allow me to present my new distinct line of fine jewelry that is fit for heirloom quality. It's simple and understated. Beautiful and elegant. (All pieces protected by copyright and use silhouettes hand cut by Patti Rishforth in the traditional method as established in 18th century France.)