How did you get started?   For a number of years, I did pen and ink house portraits. A friend, Suzi Oberg, asked me to demonstrate paper cutting at the Museum of American Frontier Culture. While doing a demonstration, Yulee Larner, bird columnist for our local paper, commissioned me to do a paper cutting of her gate. I was so excited when I did that cutting! I still get excited when I think about it, and each time I cut a new gate.
  Do you ever get to the very end and cut something off?   Very seldom. I either throw it away, give it to my husband, or change the design. 
  How long have you been doing this?   Since 1988.
  How did you learn to cut paper?   I got an "A" in scissors, in the first grade! No seriously, I think anyone can cut paper. It is just a matter of doing. 
  Aren't you afraid that you will run out of gates to cut?   No. There are so many out there, and so little time!
  How many times do you cut the same gate?   I have done ten cuttings of a particular gate. The more elaborate gates, (like The Mausoleum of James Monroe and Northwestern University) are one-time cuttings.
  Do you cut them all at once?   No. Each cutting is done separately, therefore each is actually an original, and no two are exactly alike.
  Does it come framed?   Yes. All of my work is framed in a 3-D mount and I use a frame to echo the theme or design of the gate.
  How long does it take to cut a gate?   The very simple ones may take only an hour. The more elaborate ones take between five and ten hours of cutting time. Northwestern took five years from the time I saw it until I completed it. Much of that time was spent in drawing it. It seemed that I filled many a trash can with drawings I did not like.
  How do you decide what to charge?   My charges are based on the amount of time I take to draw it, the cutting time, the mounting time, the framing time, and the cost of supplies. I put all these factors into a formula and charge from that. Sometimes I don't really know how much it will cost until I am finished.
  How many blades do you use for a piece?   Most simple pieces take from one to two blades. The more elaborate ones may take from ten to twenty blades. A very long time ago a man gave me a box of a thousand blades, I have used them all. I frequently think of him and smile; it was so kind of him to do that.
  Do you do commissioned work?   I am accepting commissioned work again, and also following my passion in my papercuttings and watercolors.
  Is it from a single sheet of paper?   Yes, except for the obvious double gates, and the gates done on more than one layer.
  I looked in the FAQ and did not see anything about how you make the cuttings 3D. (Rodney)   I mount the cuttings on either clear acrylic, or anti reflective glass and float them in the center of the frame. See this page.
  How do you get the gate cut-outs to stay in place? How do the cut-outs float the way they appear to. I am quite perplexed.  (Chad)   After cutting the paper, I very carefully mount the cutting on a piece of clear acrylic. The acrylic is larger than the opening of the first mat, therefore you cannot see the edges of it. I then put spacers in front and behind the sheet of acrylic to "float" it in the center of the frame, between the front mat and the back mat.
  Tell me about the tiny envelope at the bottom of these pages. I notice it is different from the ones you normally see for emails. Does it bring up a window for me to send you an email?  

Yes it does. The tiny envelope is a thumbnail of Mrs. Bush's invitation to The White House for the Artist Reception, December 3, 2001. She gave this wonderful party for all 200 artists who made the ornaments for the 2001 Christmas tree at the White House.



Here is a larger version of the envelope and the invitation.... it gave me goose bumps!


If you have any questions that I have not answered, please send me an email, and I will be happy to post them here.