Lauren Muney, owner of Silhouettes By Hand, cuts silhouettes freehand with scissors in the traditional portrait style made popular from about 1760 to the 1860s, and even today. Her only tools are special paper and scissors, which she uses to cut each profile while looking at the sitter. The scissors do the “drawing,” committing the cuts immediately without the possibility of erasure.
Muney became interested in cutting silhouettes after studying the entertainments of historical time periods. She fell in love with silhouettes, the art of silhouette cutting, and its place in history. Although she has a degree in graphic illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art, she is self-taught in freehand scissoring based on descriptions from silhouette masters from previous centuries.
Muney travels widely cutting silhouettes and interpreting history at museums and events across North America, and recently at the Lost Trades Fair in Australia. She has been recorded for television and radio across four continents and is featured in the United Kingdom documentary Silhouette Secrets. Lauren was recently elected to the board of directors of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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