Scherenschnitte. Kind of sounds like a Germanic cuss-word. As in: "Scherenschnitte! We're out of milk again!"
But scherenschnitte is the intricate Pennsylvania-Dutch (or Swiss, or German) art of paper-cutting. And trust me, when I say paper-cutting, I mean something far more sophisticated than those construction-paper snowflakes you used to snip as a kid.
This German example from New Hope Antiques has everything I want in a paper-cutting: an intricate symmetrical motif, set off by a killer antique frame.
Not impressed? Then check out this jaw-droppingly detailed scherenschnitte from Peggy McClard Antiques:
When I first saw this, I swore it was fine embroidery work. But it's paper -- cut in a basket weave on the edges. According to Ms. McClard, the swans you see in the picture are a mere 1/8" tall! Do yourself a favor and go to her site to view the close-ups, as they are ASTOUNDING.
Lucky for us, a new generation of scherenschnitte artists are keeping the technique alive and breathing new life into the form, like Pam Hults from Praying Mantis Folk Art.
I love the calligraphy details she adds to her pieces!