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Art of Papercutting

Paper cutting is an artistic tradition dating back centuries. It can be found all over the world, from China to Mexico to Germany, and even in the rural town of Blanding, Utah.

Utah artist Ada Rigby shared the art of papercutting with the people of Blanding, where it has become one of their traditional arts. She was taught by Lelia Palmer, who learned the skill in Mexico, where the art is called papel picado.

Paper cutting artists do not usually require many supplies to create their delicate images. Common tools are usually only paper, pencils, scissors, rulers and knives.

Rigby created her paper designs cutting them free hand with scissors, and depicted her family and life through images of people and Utah landscapes and buildings.

These four paper cutouts are a few out of the hundreds of detailed and delicate pieces she created. One shows the Chase Home, which can be visited in Liberty Park, and  another has a timeline of Utah, including a Native woman and then also airplanes. The third one has a scene of a family in a forest, and the last one, called Water in Blanding, shows a scene in Rigby’s hometown.

Rigby lived most of her life in Blanding, except for her time at Utah State University, and some brief time she spent living in Myton, Utah and Sloan, Nevada. In 2003, she received the Governor’s Award as Utah Folk Artist of the Year.

These four paper cuttings from Rigby are cared for by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, along with many other valued artwork from Utah artists that make up the artifacts and art collection.

Pledge your support to protect the collection here!

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Carrying on Traditions
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A Cultural Oasis