Blog: @silhouettist

A modern-day silhouettist tells his story.
Charles Burns writes about his explorations into the art and history of silhouette. His mission is to bring this often-overlooked art to a wider, appreciative audience.

Are silhouettes the perfect socially-distant art?

Are silhouettes the perfect socially-distant art?

Nearly twenty-five years ago, early in my career as a silhouettist, I found myself working at a hunt ball alongside another, best-forgotten silhouette cutter.  While cutting a silhouette I overheard him say to one of the guests: "It's not that you smell, but could you stand a bit further away please?!" I immediately resolved never to work with him again. (more…)

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Is Silhouette Cutting Safe?

Is Silhouette Cutting Safe?

If you're on my newsletter list I have a small favour to ask. I’m currently planning September’s newsletter on “the socially-distant silhouettist”. It’s an important subject; many artists and entertainers are thinking how to provide their services in both a safe and entertaining manner. For me, this is crucial in rebuilding a battered career! (more…)

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Can a silhouettist work from home?

Can a silhouettist work from home?

I've been asking myself whether I could work from home. As Coronavirus spreads its way around the world it seems everybody is doing it. Could a silhouettist work this way too? (more…)

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A silhouettist’s approach to data protection

A silhouettist’s approach to data protection

What should a silhouettist's approach to data protection be? This question has been much on my mind recently. I'm not alone; the launch of GDPR in Europe – and the subsequent wave of reply-or-unsubscribe emails – has got everybody thinking. What kind of data do I use? For me, the question has caused me to reexamine some of my most fundamental ideas about the role of silhouettes in society.  (more…)

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Mays Barn: a silhouettist’s studio

Mays Barn: a silhouettist’s studio

In Emmer Green, at the bottom of the garden of an unassuming 1920’s semi-detached house you’ll find Mays Barn. It was quite a find! I always tell people we bought the barn and the house came with it! But why is it there? (more…)

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Can a shadow survive a fire?

Can a shadow survive a fire?

If you have ever seen my film, or heard me speak, you will know the story of how I taught myself to cut silhouettes by studying the duplicate albums of Hubert Leslie. (more…)

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Make ’em Stop, Make ’em Stay …

Make ’em Stop, Make ’em Stay …

... Make 'em Watch, Make 'em Pay.  Some people feel 2017 will be a year of uncertainty. Some businesses are worried about the uncertainty itself. Will their business cope with Brexit? What about the Trump effect?

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Radio shades

Radio shades

Whenever I feel I've exhausted all the challenges silhouette cutting has to offer, a new one always opens itself up to me.  A week or so ago I was asked to cut a single silhouette. The subject was Tony Blackburn and the challenge was to cut it live on the radio! (more…)

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New silhouette scissors

New silhouette scissors

One of the things people most often ask when they see me cutting is "How many pairs of silhouette scissors do you get through?" I get the impression they're expecting to hear that I use at least six pairs a night! When I explain that I've been using the same pair of scissors for the last ten years, it's often quite a surprise! (more…)

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