On November 7th and 8th, students, staff, and faculty alike had the unique opportunity to participate in a workshop dedicated to contemporary papercuts. The workshops were lead by Reni Gower and Jorge Benitez, whose works are currently on display on the second floor of Argyros Forum in the exhibition Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration.

Papercutting workshop

Reni Gower and Jorge Benitez lead the workshop on November 7th, hosted in the Fish Interfaith Center.

Benitez, whose works focuses on Islamic patterns and geometry, began the workshop with a demonstration of perspective drawing. Gower followed with an introduction to papercutting, including its global history and its status as a democratic, universally accessible art form. Afterwards, Gower continued with a lesson on how to create these papercuts, explaining the difficult process of creating a repeatable image.

Papercutting workshop

In just a few hours, participants were able to create spectacular designs.

Chapman students, faculty, and staff eagerly took part in the workshop, and created their own complex designs. Participants began by drafting a design on plain paper before translating it to heavier card stock. Lastly, they used their template to create a vertical papercut on Tyvek paper.

The workshop accompanied Clear-cut: The Point of Papercuts, a panel discussion on the art of papercuts which featured Reni Gower and Jorge Benitez as well as other prominent Southern California papercut artists, including Bovey Lee, Margaret Sosa, and Chris Natrop.

A special thanks to the Fish Interfaith Center and its staff, who collaborated with the Art Collections department to host our papercutting workshop in their inspirational space!

We are grateful to the Escalette Permanent Art Collection Endowment for generously supporting this program.