In order to supplement art and history, silhouette and paper cutting historian Cindi Harwood Rose has been making the school, children’s museum, and library circuit to entertain and educate the children while performing her special art talent: cutting profiles of the young students freehand—often as many as 40 children per hour; while explaining to them, that they too, can tailor a career for themselves.
“It is simple,” Cindi explains, “I tell them I worked for both Disney theme parks as a portrait artist, a talent that was natural for me, and that by chance saw a real silhouette artist. Immediately, I tried it, did it so well, he was fired! It became my summer job, since I was almost 16, throughout high school, throughout college, and then after, college.”
Cindi Harwood Rose was an honor graduate of The University of Texas with a double major in fine art and communications. “I try to communicate, through my art, and through my personality,” Cindi explains. By that, C. Rose, truly connects with the children.
“We are all children at heart, and they are so enthused, and excited. I demonstrate paper cutting as a craft, and great silhouette artwork as an art. Crafts such as cutting from a template or pattern can be taught. In schools, I bring in patterns and show the children the different cultures that have passed this art down. We do a little easy art lesson, of valentines, snowflakes, trees. . . I show them, if you fold the paper, you can work quickly with Paper cutting. Then, I do each and every silhouette, from 30 to 60 people per hour, depending on if a mother is mounting them, and I discuss how I make each one unique, just as each person is.
If I feel someone is smart, the silhouette will reflect that, if they are frilly, my work will have many unique, turns and ruffles, if the student is creative, my work will have an edge. The size will vary too, I let the person’s aura and features both determine how I will create their profile. It becomes magic. We discuss “artistic license” something that I am able to determine—small questions such as should I put in their heart necklace, add a cross, give extra-long lashes, and of course, should that double chin be trimmed?”
What sets Cindi Harwood Rose’s silhouettes apart from her contemporary silhouette artists, is her work is not trite, no two look alike, her details are fluid, and her accuracy is spot-on. She is also the world’s fastest silhouette artist, and has a vibrant, personality, that children love. “I was an awkward, artistic child, and I respect that for some children, they may feel different”, Cindi says. “I teach them that the difference is also an asset, that can be a gift, waiting to unfold, to serve the world.”
The schools use this as a way to bring art and professionals into the world. Silhouette and paper cutting expert, Cindi Rose, also shows that early silhouettes were used to understand American history pre-camera, and paper cuttings were used by the Tang Dynasty for Chinese paper embroidery patterns for fashion for royalty. Often, the silhouette was the only record keeping of style, décor, and focus. It was less expensive than the oil painting, and the few silhouette artists that were authentic, were part of royal courts. In addition, the paper cuttings were symbolic, the dragon, coy fish, flowers, trees, all had meanings in the Oriental Paper cut arts. In paper cutting crafts, many done from patterns and templates, with scalpels, exacto knives, and sharp objects, often cut from rice paper, and as a craft. Cindi Harwood Rose’s work is an art, as she has a unique style, and captures profile and personality in the works.
Cindi, a third generation fine artist, has done silhouettes over 35 years, and is considered the world’s fastest premier silhouette artist. You can view her write-up in the Guild of American Papercutters, or in American Profile Magazine, where Cindi Harwood Rose was chosen as an American hero, for her silhouettes for cancer survivors, which can be ordered on-line from CindiSilhouettes@gmail.com. For more information and booking information please visit silhouettesbycindi.com.