At some point in our life, all of us have tried to create some fancy stuff on plain paper through doodling, sketching, and paper-cutting. Chances are some turned out right, and some ripped apart in a matter of seconds. But, for 26-year-old Neetu Sam, a self-taught Psaligraphy artist who carves out delightful-looking creations out of paper, it’s a breeze, well, not really, but you get the idea.
Scroll through her Instagram account ‘abrowngirlbasket’ and you will observe meticulous paper-cut designs of a girl flying, the Tweety bird, a camera, a man and his dog, and a headshot of the Buddha. On a given day, when she isn’t traveling, she can be found at her home sketching an idea that’s struck her fancy and, then, visualizing how it would look cut out.
Quiz her on what got this engineering graduate interested in this unique form of art, and Neetu says, “I was always artistically inclined from childhood, and was into drawing and sketching. After working as a content writer for a while, I decided it was time to do something on my own.
Then, while scrolling through Facebook one day, I stumbled upon an article with all these beautiful pictures made from paper by this Spanish artist. I found it fascinating and discovered that the art of paper-cutting was called Psaligraphy.”
Neetu Sam Psaligraphy
And, soon, she was sketching all sorts of designs on paper, experimenting with different cuts and textures of papers while also reaching out to Psaligraphy artists on YouTube and learning tips and tricks through articles online. Her learning was centered on trial and error until she found a method and a medium that worked for her.
“Using the right kind of paper is really important as a regular A4 Xerox sheet can get torn easily. If the paper is too thick, your blade can break. So, now, I use a paper with a thickness between 130 to 160 gsm. I try to use as much of recycled paper as possible,” adds Neetu who also happens to be a British Council certified trainer.
Making a single paper-cut creation is meticulous work, taking six to eight hours depending on the subject. “I start by sketching on the paper, taking the spacing into account for the cuts. I make them using surgical scalpels. Detailed works like the 3D camera and flying girl which I created take me close to 13 to 18 hours to do. A wrong cut can mean starting all over again,” explains Neetu, who also takes orders for customized works.
Currently, she is all agog over a 32-inch paper-cut creation she is working on about Hyderabad which is an ambitious project that will include the Golconda Fort, Charminar and other elements synonymous with the city.