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A cut, a slash and a carve

An activity cut out for finding inner peace

By Salomé SaffiriPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
A whimsical bike Card by Maryam

What do you see when you look at the blank sheet of paper? An origami to be made? A beautiful painting yet to manifest? Maybe you see the words of a thrilling adventure novel fall in lines, eager to be written. Me- I see a story. Stories have accompanied me through childhood into present day. I visualized them, drew them, wrote them and one day I started carving them into paper. I don't remember my "AHA" moment, the realization that the knife was needed or how I should do it. I remember that I was anxious, a swarm of thoughts and ideas buzzing restlessly in my mind, looking for a way out. I bought the tool - a small handle with interchangeable blade heads, each one perfect for a specific mission, I bought a stack of thick paper in array of colors. And as soon as my blade touched the paper- my thoughts have found their relief.

I started with bookmark. A sheet of joyful yellow, a dollop of sunshine among the black and white lines of the book. I carved a silhouette with a rigid large blade. A girl reading, naturally- what other subject could a bookmark be! And suddenly my imagination took me through myriads of silhouettes, hundreds of poses I could put the bookmark girl in. I knew one thing: She will remain transparent as if to show that the words she is reading are filling and making her. A cut, a bend, a curve - all of my attention focused on my creations- and the restless thoughts faded with the world outside of my room.

One day I opened an old book and found a dried flower, a memory of a long summer day, preserved among the pages. I wanted to mimic it, for Nature is a true artist and I learned from copying it. I used a different blade for quick and seamless motion. Silence. Stillness. Serenity. As my eyes follow the free flowing blade, I find my Zen.

vines by Maryam

It had turned out beautifully, the tiny blade of my knife obediently followed my wrist, mimicking curves and bends of branches, the edges of the leaves looked alive for accidental mistakes and nicks on the paper actually breathed life and motion into them.

Woods Postcards by Maryam

A cut, a slash, a carve - like a doctor I work with precision, envisioning and welcoming the emerging image. It doesn’t always go as I want: Sometimes the paper folds, sometimes the image comes out distorted, but my mind is finally at peace, manifesting the story that has been restlessly spinning in my thoughts. Here is a forest, still under the snow. A sprinkling of scarlet birds. My masterpiece is nearly complete, my worries and turmoil halt as I work on my project. It's almost meditative - a slice, a notch, an incision... A panorama coming together. I'm adding a sheet of semi- transparent paper in between the white forest and the blood-red birds. My card has now calmed- agitated colors becoming more hushed. Now it looks like a quiet winter morning in the sleepy forest. It represents my soul, my thoughts for the moment. My desire for the enchanting silence of the winter woods.

Winter Woods Card by Maryam

Today I'm feeling social. I love people and I want to add them to my paper art. I am taking a medium blade, it is rigid, oddly shaped. I hold it like a pen and notice that a callus starts forming on my finger from holding the knife tool so much. I don't mind it- creating my paper stories liberates my mind of them, gives them life and they deserve to live. I am making them beautiful and I love every one of them- ever so different, with a particle of my soul in each one.

Wedding Card by Maryam

On some days, when I want to get away and truly can not, I go to my safe place - my art room. There, I can immerse into the stories my mind is telling me. I can forget myself in the Autumn woods, walking on the crisp leaves, away from work, away from anxiety. There I can create my own path through the golden forest, and create a new world with a whip of my wrist and a sharp blade. I have noticed that besides subsiding anxiety, my skills have sharpened and I have found new ways to overlay paper. So I started creating shadowboxes, for we all need a little light to illuminate the darkness of the unknown.

Walk in the Autumn woods Shadowbox by Maryam

It is early winter- the time when I feel homesick the most (in addition to already isolating pandemic). I feel longing, it scratches on the inside of my soul: I miss my culture, my heritage, my Christmas songs and specialty foods, I miss hearing my native language, so I pick up my knife and put on traditional Ukrainian winter music. Today story will be the one of witchcraft. It will be about sexuality and mystique, about the forest nymphs and dark tales, about the true and fairy tales and it will be in the traditional colors of my home country: Red, Black and White.

As I cut along the pre-drawn lines, singing along with the looped Ukrainian song, my mind falls into some form of meditation and my heart finds comfort in familiarity. My hand meditatively follows the pre-determined pattern, my lips whisper known words, like a mantra and I don't feel so alone anymore. I feel in control of my emotions, my thoughts and mainly- my life, even if for a moment.

Ukrainian Witches by Maryam

Carving my ideas into paper, making cards and shadowboxes is a meditation for me, it is an occupation which gives me complete control over the story. I enjoy that a sharp and potentially dangerous tool can create delicate and enchanting stories.

Thank you

coping

About the Creator

Salomé Saffiri

Writing - is my purpose. I feel elated when my thoughts assume shapes, and turn into Timberwolves, running through the snowbound planes of fresh paper, leaving the black ink of their paw prints behind.

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    Salomé SaffiriWritten by Salomé Saffiri

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