Sabine Brosche is a German paper cutting artist living in remote Australia. She loves the idea of creating art from almost nothing. This gorgeous project, ‘Burned & Cut’ was made exclusively from old and damaged books that were thrifted, gifted or salvaged from recycling bins.Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

Sabine’s father is an antique collector. She grew up rummaging in second hand shops and exploring people’s sheds, barns, back rooms and cellars with him. Her fond childhood memories revolve around searching for lost treasures. She recalls him bringing home items that looked beyond repair, and painstakingly upcycling them into amazing pieces.

Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

When Sabine first started getting into art, she thought she needed expensive art materials to produce interesting artwork. Over time, she realized that expensive materials did not expand her creativity. Her love of nature and conservation lead her back to her roots. She began to create art from reclaimed materials that were cheap or freely available, books.Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

Each paper cutting book Sabine upcycles has a story.

Often when I look through the pages I wonder about the person to whom the book once belonged. I wonder if they are still alive and what kind of life they have lived. Reading through the book I sometimes feel some sort of connection with the owner or the author…

Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

The paper cutting work Sabine does is called pyrography. It is the art of decorating materials with burn marks. The term means “writing with fire”, from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).

Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

Aside from paper cutting, there are many ways to upcycle old book pages: drawing, painting or printing on the paper, making collages or building paper sculptures. Sabine’s technique involves cutting and burning intricate patterns onto the book pages. The resulting paper cut is delicate and throws a gorgeous shadow onto its background.

Paper Cutting detail

One of Sabine’s favourite parts of paper cutting is reading the personal, handwritten dedications in the books. One of the oldest dedications she found was dated 1866.

Paper Cutting - Sabine Brosche

The most special dedication she found was from a book lying in the streets of Lismore, it had a very personal dedication in Sabine’s own language – German – and was signed and dated. 1921. The message translates more or less to:

The Meaning of life is self realization. Death is a birth to immortality. This is my philosophy! And for me, life is a strict school within the infinity of being.
Molly, 1st Dec. 1921

Source: Sabine Brosche

One Thought on Paper Cutting

  1. Wow that is amazing work, so intricate. I dont like seeing books or other things going to landfill. Doing this adds new life to old. We have finite resources and that’s why upcycling is so important. Thanks for sharing.


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