By Leah Kiernan
Remember when you were a kid and you could make a unique snowflake just from folding a piece of paper and making a few cuts? Ingrid Lavoie has taken this process to a whole new level. What started as a trip to Denmark turned into a lifelong passion. Over the thirty years she’s been in the industry, Ingrid’s cuttings evolved from simple patterns to intricate and detailed pieces of art. She works with her customers to create completely unique and personalized pieces. If you’ve been struggling to decide on the final touches for your wedding day or you desperately need to find the perfect gift for your newlywed best friend, read on. Ingrid has all the answers to this detailed form of art.
When did you first become interested in paper-cutting?
I was vacationing in Denmark because my aunt lived there and they have a lot of paper art there. I was a student and the cuttings were very expensive, so I decided to try and make my own.
What is the basic process behind creating a paper cutting?
A lot of them I design to be symmetrical, so I think of ‘what would be the balance of the design?’ I do a lot of sketchings of nature. I transfer the design from the sketch to paper and then use an exacto knife and a self-healing cutting mat.
What’s your favorite part about this process?
When you’re unfolding it. It’s kind of like opening a gift because you aren’t quite sure what the finished product is going to look like.
How long does an average piece take to complete?
The longest part of the process is the design and sketch stage. It takes time to cut, but coming up with the concept and designing the drawing is the most time consuming part. The cutting itself is probably only about ten to thirty hours.
Do you have a favorite piece?
The one I’m currently working on, so it’s constantly evolving. It’s also fun to do a commission piece because it challenges me to do something I wouldn’t normally do or maybe think I can’t do.
What motivated you to start doing bridal paper cuttings?
I was trying to think of different things you could use paper cuttings for. For my cousin’s bridal shower, I thought instead of doing a guestbook, why not do a cutting people could sign. Often the times when family gets together are either for funerals or weddings, so it’s important to record that. This piece wasn’t just a paper cutting; people personalized it for a specific reason. I also wanted to do the favors but I was daunted by the idea of frosting sugar cookies. By using a paper cutting instead of frosting, people can enjoy the favor and still take something home with them.
What is your process for working with brides?
The couple contacts me and I ask what they have in mind. Usually it’s a personal piece for the bride and groom and it might include where their wedding is taking place and their hobbies and interests. I’ll take elements from their personalities and I’ll do sketches of what the cutting could look like. Then I show the couple three ideas, because I think any more than that would be overwhelming, and they give me their input. Usually it’s a matter of they love one sketching but want to change x, so then I show them a revised sketch, and then I cut. Sometimes people give these as a gift for the bride and groom. Once, I did a paper cutting of a bride and groom in a canoe and the groom wasn’t as husky as he should have been, so the aunt told me, “You have to beef him up!” It’s a very personal gift.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you or your art?
I celebrate people who try to make their wedding or gift for a bride and groom as unique as possible. You can never go wrong with giving fine art. You can really give something unique that the couple will cherish forever.