Paper magic at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

(Last Updated On: December 20, 2021)

I’ll never look at one of those cut-paper snowflakes the same way after seeing Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Woman admiring paper art in a gallery

The magic of paper in the hands of Karin Bit Vejle

Psaligraphy is the art of cutting paper – like the paper snowflakes children make in school. However, in the hands of Danish artist Karin Bit Vejle, this seemingly simple act results in the extraordinary. As seen in a 2014 exhibit at the Swedish Institute, her work is both intricate and detailed. The Institute’s galleries are filled with multifaceted stories delicately writ in paper, often on a large scale.


While all are rich in detail, a few completely transform the material, looking more like fine lace than simple cut paper.

red flowers of cut paper

All of the pieces are cut by hand, although extensive planning and sketches are done before a single snip of Bit’s scissor.

hands cutting paper

(A movie in the exhibit showed the artist at work with her tiny scissors as she discusses her art.)

Other paper artists on display

The show was accompanied by the work of a few other paper artists. The largest group of these were in an exhibit called Entangled Introductions, featuring the work of local artist Sonja Peterson.

There are a few other cut paper works scattered throughout the Castle (as the mansion that forms the heart of the museum is often called), including a handful of cheerful pieces by local artist Cynthia McKeen.

20140202-28 DSC_3403 cut art by Cynthia McKeen at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota
It’s a magical world and a lovely escape from a very long Minnesota winter.

Karen Bit Vejle’s Papercut! was on display in at the American Swedish Institute in 2014.  

portrait of a woman made from cut paper with text "Paper Magic in Minneapolis, American Swedish Institute"


Link to post Watercolor WorldsLink to post on the American Swedish Institute

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