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Sarah Goddard

Visage Silhouettes

Sarah Goddard is one of the leading silhouette artists in the UK and has been performing this specialized art at numerous events across the country and internationally for over 5 years.  This includes a Royal occasion at Windsor Castle, House of Commons, The National Portrait Gallery and a four month promotion in India.
Silhouettes are often associated with regal stately homes of the 18th Century and Paris, yet they encompass so much more and can be seen in modern day magazines, advertising and as a backdrop to many popular films, such as Lemony Snickett and even have an air of film noir with mysterious silhouetted gangsters.

There are many different varieties as they can be made using paint on glass or clay cameos, ink drawn and highlighted detail using gold leaf to name a few.

A true silhouette is cut using a pair of specialised scissors which smoothly cuts through black paper to capture the profile of the sitters face.  This technique can only be achieved with great skill and it is one that Sarah still preserves as it gives the best results, requires patience and a good eye for detail, and stuns people who think that the fast scissor action is magic. Sarah's work is beautifully executed and greatly admired.

There are no courses available to learn this art form.   There are only half a dozen of known silhouette artists in the United Kingdom which are usually decedents of generations of paper cutters.  The inspiration for Sarah to begin hand crafting miniature profiles of people happened upon chance.

Sarah's background is mainly in illustration with a strong interest in the human form she studied art at foundation level in Maidenhead, before encompassing on a degree at Kent Institute of Art and Design. It was after graduating that she worked in a gallery in Henley upon Thames with silhouettes on display. She was naturally drawn to the distinct style, the clear lines and eye catching positive shapes of shadows. It was there that she met American artist, Claudette Willis, who introduced her to this art.

Sarah now belongs to the American paper cutters guild and has been cutting miniature profiles of people and animals ever since she was introduced to this art form. She works at weddings, corporate do's, fairs and private functions all around the country and internationally as part of a mix n mingle entertainment where guests get to take home there very own silhouette as a unique memento.

In her studio she continues to perfect this art and bring it back to the 20th Century by experimenting with paper silhouettes and paint, and specialises in one off silhouette commissions. This includes the common bust length of a person, to 'conversational pieces' where full length family members are placed in the same frame but are doing different actions such as; reading a book, playing the piano, smoking a pipe or stroking a dog. This is a more traditional look.

Silhouette cutting originated in the 18th Century by the Chief General of France, Etienne de Silhouette, hence the name, 'silhouette'. It was said that he taxed the people of Paris highly. This meant that people could not afford to have there family members painted by artists. Soon the art became popular with the average person and machine was invented to cast shadows on to paper so that every one could have one. These machines lead to the discovery of photography and therefore the art died out.

Before the 18th Century discovery, the orient had already been using silhouettes as part of puppet shows, and could even be seen on Roman vases, which proves that this art is timeless.

It is hard to believe today that silhouettes were so popular that even famous author s such as Hans Christian Andersen became accomplished in the art of paper cuttings. Those who lacked the skill to cut silhouettes commissioned other artists.  The most famous silhouette artist of all time is August Edouart. Famous models were Jane Austin and even Royalty.

It is good to know that there are a few artists today still making their mark, and silhouettes are making a come back.

 
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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 85 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.