Dena Bach is a Minnesota native, who has been temporarily residing in Newton, Massachusetts for the past 20 years. She studied painting at Brandeis University and has a BFA in Illustration from The Massachusetts College of Art.
I began cutting designs out of paper many years ago, as a way to relieve the boredom of my high school classes. My teachers didn’t appreciate it, but I have been cutting paper ever since. I have used the art of papercutting to illuminate everything from music album covers to children’s book illustrations to ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts).
What appeals to me about papercutting is both its ephemeral nature and its humbleness. Many cultures around the world have folk art traditions of cut paper, but these traditions did not come from the artists and artisans of the society but instead from the home. It was often the women, the children and the underclass who used cut paper to decorate a table or a window for a holiday or a special occasion, because the materials needed were cheap and often at hand. These pieces were usually made for a specific event by their creators and were not meant to last long; a paper wall hanging is easily torn, a paper decoration for the an outdoor festival, will not survive a rain. In my work, I embrace the traditional style and sensibilities of folk artist, but with a more contemporary feel, to create lasting works of art.