Casting a Shadow

Elizabeth Bluemle -- October 26th, 2012

I must have been channeling former ShelfTalker blogger Alison Morris the other night, because I was (a) trolling Etsy.com and (b) finding literary goodies there. I came across some particularly tasty morsels in the form of shadow puppets inspired by children’s books. Based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, IsabellasArt features laser-cut black silhouettes, beautifully detailed.

A couple of years ago, Sarah Lamstein came for an author visit at the Flying Pig, and brought her extraordinary shadow puppet theatre to bring her book, Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale, to life. (Her puppets were not from this artist, but were also striking..)The children were enchanted, and so were the adults. There is something very very old in a fairy-tale way, almost atavistic in feeling, about shadow puppets, and even the most technologically savvy kids find them magical.

Here are a few familiar characters from Isabella’s amazing laser designs:

THUMBELINA

THE MAD HATTER & ALICE

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

OBERON & THE KING OF THE FAIRIES

THE LITTLE PRINCE

THE SNOW QUEEN & KAI (or KAY)

The Etsy shop’s website gives a little info about the artist: “Isabella is a 25 year old artist who specializes in portraying myths, legends, superstition, folk songs and all other things related to folklore. She does this by depicting these stories and songs in her works of art: drawings, shadow puppets, paper-cuts, books and articles.”

These would make terrific additions to special story hours in bookstores, libraries, and classrooms — heck, even at home. And frankly, I think they would look fantastic up against a colorful wall as art; I have three beautiful full-color stick puppets from Ed Young’s gorgeous The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folktale (book still available, but, sadly, without puppets) marching across one little area of my wall at home.

Is anyone else as taken by these as I am?

One thought on “Casting a Shadow

  1. Jeanette Larson

    Love these! I’ve been enthralled by shadow puppets since I worked with David Wisniewski on art for the Texas Reading Club. Much of his art was, of course, influenced by his work with shadow puppetry. I have some Indonesian shadow puppets on my wall. Thanks for sharing these great puppets. They would be wonderful for a nice “old school” program in a library or book store!

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