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the real anatomical heart


The caption under this incredible image by Rob Jones III reads: This is the vasculature of an actual heart (porcine heart, identical to human heart). The blood is replaced by a plastic substance which fills all of the veins, capillaries, etc, then the heart is put into a solution that dissolves all the tissue, leaving this incredible detail of a heart.

I couldn’t help but to look at an example of a PaperCutWorks image to compare the two.  Mine, a papercut, extracted from red card stock paper with an xacto knife. A loose interpretation of a heart’s anatomy. Rob’s, actual veins. Stunning image and the process used to create the sculpture. Naturally, it completely consumed my attention. Reblogged so many times without any credit to the artist it took me a while to locate its origin. When I first started to create my papercut hearts, I studies some anatomical images, but nothing ever came as close to feeling as real as this one. Science and art married into one.


Ocean canoeing in the Phang Nga Hongs


James & I went on a magical ocean canoe trip last month in the Phang Nga Hongs near the Phuket Island in Thailand.

Thinking about some of the sights we witnessed continues taking my breath away. Here I’m sharing my favorite images we captured together.

Mangrove trees inside a completely enclosed lagoon accessible only on a canoe during low tide via a network of caves.

Layers of time compressed into rock.

If you’d like to see more, this flickr photo album documents our entire trip.

{within waves}


These photos by Nick Allen knocked me off my feet when I stumbled upon them yesterday… I’m not a surfer, but if I was, photographing my under-water experience would be the ultimate dream. What a gift to be able to capture the ocean from such a unique angle, in motion, and share…. Enjoy many more stunning captures here.

{for your valentine}


… this week only: become a friend of PaperCutWorks on facebook & receive 20% off your order ~ your custom piece will arrive by Valentine’s*!

* only orders shipped within US will arrive by 2/14. faster shipping options available – feel free to contact me to arrange them.

PaperCutWorks then & now


Over the holidays I worked on a San Francisco map heart & it made me think about just how much my design & technique have changed since their 2005 beginnings, and how this evolution sped up since I opened up my first etsy shop.

When I started sharing my papercuts on etsy in 2010, I used to cut the heart outline freehand, repurposing previously collected outdated maps, and mounted the final cutouts on 2″ thick art panels (instead of the current, more delicate 1″ kind). The lines were thinner, and mostly fewer. Paired with the heavier panel, the overall design seems so unbalanced now.

The most significant change however has been in the cut material. I ran out of the maps on hand & started being very selective about the maps I source. While I still use vintage maps in majority of my cutouts, occasionally a page from a vintage atlas isn’t as colorful or varied as I’d like it to be. So instead I turn to maps that are only 15+ years old, but more interesting in terms of design. I also always try to use maps by the same cartographers when creating two and three heart cutouts.

My chronological flickr {heartworks} photo album documents these changes pretty well.

{cultural fusion}


The first person to wander into my PaperCutWorks shop back in April of 2010 & request a custom project was Taryn. She was designing her own wedding & asked me to create a series of unique Moroccan doorway papercuts.

I was really curious about how the papercuts she envisioned and I created would be incorporated into the wedding decor, so I asked Taryn to share some photos.  A year and a half later… she sent me links to a feature of her special day in the Munaluchi Bridal, a wedding magazine for women of color, later linked in The Huffington Post Weddings!

I am honored that someone with such exquisite taste and brilliant design instincts invited me to play a tiny part in the happiest day of their life! Taryn, I hope  your wedding day turned out to be everything you dreamed it would! My best wishes to you & LA!

Please visit the Munaluchi Bridal for more stunning photos by Tec Petaja of this one-of-a-kind event.

His Valentine to Kyoto


Over the last couple years, little by little, I’ve become enamored with Japan. Among the people who helped to initiate and cultivate this process has been GJC. So with his permission, I wanted to share some breathtaking works of his.

The image above is from his Celebration of Tea series, which I love especially. I frequently bookmark his captures, or I’ll hold on to them as my desktop image because one glimpse just isn’t enough.

Like me, back when photography was my only artistic outlet, GJC captures mostly objects, structures, settings; occasionally silhouettes of people, but never posed portraits. Moments. & since recently, he treats his followers to beautiful, intimate glimpses of his family life (& his sweet baby daughter).

If I travel to Japan one day, it will be to help recover that moment awareness I think GJC excels at. For now, his images let me live an illusion, that if I can’t find it again in my life here now, I only need to buy a ticket to Kyoto.

The Floating World. Isn’t it just haunting?