"}
Visual

A Cut Above

A silhouette artist with soul

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kerry Cook isn’t just a silhouette artist—she’s a storyteller. Since she first became interested in the art form when she was 10 years old, she’s been passionate about perfecting her craft. She’ll be coming to Bellingham Oct. 20 to share her talents here for the first time, and we caught up with her to find out what to expect.

Cascadia Weekly: What is the most important detail to include when it comes to cutting a silhouette?
Kerry Cook: That depends on the silhouette, and the story you’re trying to tell. A good silhouette artist looks for the secret of each face, not just an unusual feature, such as a caricaturist might catch. The real silhouette artist looks for subtle lines, or a harmony of lines.

CW: Do you remember what it was that attracted you about the art form when you were a kid?
KC: My dad put me up to it. I used to cut silhouettes out of the side of my mom’s portrait booth in art fairs and county fairs around Washington State. Doing silhouettes gave me a way to participate in the world that was happening all around me. It was fun!

CW: What was the most important lesson your dad taught you?
KC: My dad taught me how to see. He taught me to examine every part of every line, looking for curves, planes and angles, and how those nuanced lines fit together in context to the rest of the face.

CW: This seems like such a specialized talent.
KC: When I started there were three of us in Western Washington, me and two older women. Now, so far as I know, I’m the only professional silhouette artist in the Pacific Northwest, and there are fewer than 10 quality artists in the whole country who still do the real thing.

CW: Are there fakers out there?
KC: Most people today who promote themselves as “silhouette artists” are actually doing a formula cut developed for use in theme parks. This means they essentially cut the same head over and over again, very fast, and customize it just enough to sell a quick illusion of likeness.

CW: Do you find the silhouettes are something people hold on to for a long time?
KC: Yes, definitely! Silhouettes become heirlooms. I’m always interested to hear when and where people have had silhouettes done in the past. Sometimes I find the work of my mentor, Flo Konecke. Flo lived on Lummi Island, and did a lot of work in the Bellingham area.

CW: How long does it typically take to do each silhouette?
KC: Usually about 3 to 5 minutes. It depends on the amount of detail.

CW: What are your tools of the trade?
KC: I use customized surgical scissors, with specially sharpened blades.

CW: What are your challenges?
KC: Because a silhouette has only one line with which to tell a story, every millimeter should “speak.” The fun challenge for me artistically is to try to find what is unique in each face, and express it in a way that is artistic and appealing.

CW: You say “the best silhouettes have soul.” Can you elaborate?
KC: There is a magic about silhouettes. Because the line is so simple, silhouettes come alive in a way that is very different from other kinds of art. A good silhouette can trigger a special kind of “Aha!” response—a sudden, intense experience of recognition. This makes silhouettes feel both intimate and magical. If they are well observed and if the artist captures something evocative—some nuance of line, likeness, expression, posture—then a silhouette from 100 years ago can make you feel as if you know the subject, and what kind of person they were. Careful observation is the key.

Kerry Cook will hand-cut portraits, by appointment, from 11am-6pm Sun., Oct. 20 and, if there’s overflow, Mon., Oct. 21 at the Fairhaven’s Toy Garden, 1147 11th St. Call 714-8552 to schedule a time. Cost is $25 for the original, $10 for each copy and $14 for an oval frame (optional).

Zoots Banner
More Visual...
Working It
Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

Before opening up the door of her coveted corner space in Fairhaven’s Morgan Block Studios to the public during the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour (WAST), Nancy Canyon admits to getting a little nervous, wondering if her studio looks presentable and if the selection of paintings she’s put aside…

more »
River Visions
When storytelling and ecology collide

The artists of the Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea create striking, evocative work, acclaimed by collectors and museums worldwide. In a pair of brilliant exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology of the University of British Columbia, the lyrical Sepik storytelling collides with a…

more »
Surge
Connected by climate

It’s been 35 years since La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art (MONA) first opened its doors to the public as a way to showcase the region’s most interesting and innovative artists.

When it comes to the future, that aforementioned number is equally important. As part of the venue’s annual…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Autumn Celebration Dinner

5:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Andrew Subin
Tomorrow
Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Run Like a Girl

8:00am|Fairhaven Park

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Cabbage Class

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Healthcare Film

9:30am|Bellingham Public Library

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Fermentation Fun

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Film is Truth Anniversary Party

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Birding Walk

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Porpathon

10:00am|Salish Sea

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Buddy Walk

11:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photos Opening

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Banned Books Week Read-In

12:30pm|Village Books

Intro to NaNoWriMo

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Artist Lecture

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Matched Makers Opening

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Timber Rose

2:00pm|North Fork Library

Traditional Jazz

2:00pm|VFW Hall

Blessing of the Animals

3:30pm|Cornwall Park

Poetry Palavers

4:00pm|Village Books

Edison Opening

5:00pm|Smith & Vallee Gallery

Matzke Art Auction

5:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Celebrating Jack Prelutsky

5:30pm|Western Library

Fred Morrison

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

The Aimees

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

USA Dance

7:00pm|Presence Studio

George Winston

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Folk Dance Party

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Everybody’s Store
Sunday
The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|Rome Grange

Fueling Education Fun Run

9:30am|Washington Park

Sunday Market

1:00pm|Alger Community Hall

Walk the Wall

1:30pm|Lake Padden

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

2:00pm|Lake Padden Park

White Christmas Auditions

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bruce Molsky

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

see our complete calendar »

{/exp:stash:get_list} Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books CW BOB 2016 Zoots Side Bar Mount Baker Theatre Bellingham Farmer’s Market Northwood Steak and Crab Andrew Subin Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Everybody’s Store Swinomish 2016