Silhouette Cutting by Charles Burns

SILHOUETTE CUTTING is going digital. Spurred on by the Covid-19 crisis we have now completely reinvented the way we work. Last year, you would have been most likely to meet a silhouettist at a party or corporate event. Today that has all changed.

Cutting a silhouette over Zoom (or other platform) is not without challenges, but we found  a way to make it work. Take a look at our online events page, or sign up to our newsletter to lear n more about Charles’ unique online Studio Days. On these special days visitors can book a time slot to get their silhouette cut from anywhere in the world.

Charles Burns takes pride in being the most obsessive silhouettist working the UK today.  He took a musty, Victorian art and reinvented it as an engaging entertainment for the twenty-first century. Watching Charles cut a silhouette up close is an object lesson in hand-eye coordination.

His equipment (a pair of scissors and a pocketful of paper) hasn’t changed since Jane Austen’s time. The skill and presentation, however, is unmistakably fresh and modern. Whether cut online or face to face, for Charles, silhouette cutting is a contemporary art.

The Roving Artist

TWENTY YEARS AGO Charles teamed up with fellow silhouettist Michael Herbert as The Roving Artist. Their aim? To bring the very best of silhouette cutting to corporate and private events. These days many events are online. Between them they attend over 300 events a year, and yet still manage to find  people who’ve never met a silhouettist!

Their success lies both in their natural enthusiasm and in the captivating simplicity of their art. All a silhouettist needs is paper, scissors and a somewhat quirky skill.

Whether you’re thinking of a silhouettist for a wedding, an informal gathering on Zoom, or a team of artists to cut 500 silhouettes at a gala dinner, we can make it work for you.

Cutting a silhouette

BOOK A PRIVATE SITTING FOR TWO: @silhouettist studio

During 2020 Charles spent a lot of time refining his technique for cutting silhouettes online using Zoom. He has launched a new virtual version of his business called simply “@silhouettist”.

The vision is simple: visitors are invited to book a ten-minute online sitting at one of Charles’ new Virtual Studio Days. The resulting silhouettes are then posted to clients anywhere in the world. An eighteenth-century art reinvented for the twenty-first century!

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The art of cutting profile portraits with scissors is an old English craft with a fascinating history. It died out in Victorian times (after the invention of photography) and that was nearly the end of it.

Silhouette Secrets postcard

Silhouette Secrets

A modern-day silhouettist’s journey into the surprising world of the shadow portrait.

If you’re spending time at home why not take an hour out one evening to watch Charles’ film? He’ll take you back in time and introduce you to his favourite silhouettists. The film culminates in a speed-cutting “duel of scissors” at an Audi showroom in Houston, Texas.

Who is the fastest silhouettist in the West?.

watch now



Running Man