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.

Cut during lockdown: silhouette cutting as a Christmas gift experience

Cut during lockdown: silhouette cutting as a Christmas gift experience

Have you already made plans for Christmas? Or are you, like me, completely stuck? I've been thinking about silhouette cutting as an online 'gift experience' and holding onto the idea that silhouettes still make interesting and personal mementos of the unique times we're all living through. (more…)

Read more

December Studio Days from Battenham to Barber

December Studio Days from Battenham to Barber

I've arranged six more studio days for December 2020. Each is named after a historical artist. These are a few silhouettists whose names begin begin with the letter 'B'. You can book sittings here and read about the artists below. (more…)

Read more

November Studio Days with Audax and Ardrossan

November Studio Days with Audax and Ardrossan

This November I've arranged four more studio days. Each is named after a historical artist. These are the last silhouettists I know beginning with the letter 'A'. You can book sittings here and read about the artists below. (more…)

Read more

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…)

Read more

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…)

Read more

October’s Collection of Accidental Profilists

October’s Collection of Accidental Profilists

I've arranged just three studio days for October. Each is named after a historical artist, all still beginning the letter 'A'. You can book sittings here and read about the artists below. (more…)

Read more

Time Machine Now Live!

Time Machine Now Live!

Did I mention that I was building a time machine? I’m delighted to report that my silhouette time machine is now live and active, and that you can use it @silhouettist The concept is simple, to make my silhouettes available across all timezones. It does this by guiding people to one of my virtual studio days. (more…)

Read more

September’s Surprising Selection of Silhouettists

September’s Surprising Selection of Silhouettists

I held four studio days in September. In order, they were named after: the mysterious Miss Alcock, Aldous, a silhouettist to the Duke of York, Allenby, an invisible Irish silhouettist, and Hans Allmayer, fond of cutting out German composers . (more…)

Read more

The Time Travelling Silhouettist

The Time Travelling Silhouettist

The time-travelling silhouettist sounds like a character from a steam-punk extravaganza. I'd love to imagine I could be that man! Sadly, none of us can really travel in time. Yet curiously, the quirky craft I practice is beginning to make me feel like I'm doing just that. (more…)

Read more

August Begins with A-silhouettist

August Begins with A-silhouettist

This August I've started scheduling virtual studio days from my new website @silhouettist. To create some variety I'm naming each studio day as a tribute to artists of the past. Some are easy to find out information about, others not at all. (more…)

Read more

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…)

Read more

Weird Symmetry

Weird Symmetry

As an artist interested in science I’ve always been fascinated by symmetry. As a silhouettist I rely completely on symmetry, my art would literally not exist without ti. I’d like to share some of that fascination by exploring a certain weird symmetry which infuses our lives. . (more…)

Read more

Cutting the Brides’ Silhouette

Cutting the Brides’ Silhouette

Cutting a silhouette of the bride (or brides) live on her wedding day is always a heart-stopping moment. There she is, on her big day, surrounded by her closest family and friends. What could possibly go wrong? (more…)

Read more

Portraits and Caricatures by Inger Eidem

Portraits and Caricatures by Inger Eidem

I heard about Inger Eidem long before I knew her name. Whilst cutting silhouettes at events I'd occasionally meet people who'd tell me about silhouettes they had done in their childhood. Apparently the artist cut through two pieces of paper at the same time, one of which became a portrait and the other a caricature. Wait, what?! Is that even possible?

Read more

Capturing Likeness in Caricature

Capturing Likeness in Caricature

Is it possible to make a caricature likeness in silhouette? This question vexed me for many years. (more…)

Read more

Mays Barn 2020 Studio Catalogue now out

Mays Barn 2020 Studio Catalogue now out

A short post to announce that my studio catalogue for 2020 has now been launched. Click here to download your free copy! (more…)

Read more