Paper cutter

April 8, 2010

In a card shop (selling wedding invitations etc) in the old market area of Manek Chook, I met an old woman who was delighted to hear I was a ‘paper artist’. She told me about her friend, a retired banker, who made beautiful paper cuts and wondered if I’d like to see them. Dubious at first (imagining some of the many small ‘crafty items’ produced for cards) I asked more about it. Communication was tricky but it was eventually decided that the paper-cutter would come to the shop from his home town in Patan, and would run a ‘workshop’ for me and other local artists for a 10 rupee fee each.

I had seen some examples of incredibly intricate paper cutting in the city museum and bought a sample from the calico museum but other than had, had found no ‘living’ examples of the craft, so was intrigued.

Paper cutter at work

Was delighted when Mr Pernamchand K. Jadar turned up with his tools and samples of his highly skilled work! It was great to see him actually doing the cutting (Steven made some films of it), right from the initial drawing. Have no idea how he works out the positive and negative spaces in such intricate designs; have tried myself and it’s really difficult to get it right.

Cutting away the drawn design

The goddess Laxmi

He cuts several sheets at once, using a strong knife he has made specially for the job. He seems to dig rather than cut, and then pulls the pieces out with tweezers.

The paper cutter's tools

For designs, he seems to draw on whatever images he finds, mostly Indian religion and mythology, but was intrigued to find large cut outs of London Bridge and the Statue of Liberty as well!

London Bridge in paper

The light in the shop was not really good enough to photograph well but the detail really was impressive, especially for a craftsman who has been pursuing his passion only in his leisure hours all his life. Some of his pieces are more than a metre square and must take months to complete (in the hour or so he worked for us he cut about 4cm square)!

Detail from a large organic design

Anyway, I bought a piece from him and we are both pleased. Will be intrigued to see if any of Mr Jadar’s influence comes out in my own work?

Mr Jadar with the start of a small paper cutting

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One Response to “Paper cutter”

  1. triveni Says:

    impressed in influence by his work.
    may i know where the Manek Chook is?
    may i have his contact number.
    m a student for IITB, IDC Mumbai


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