Small Shop Series – Hand-Cut Silhouettes By Silhouettes & Such

I am so excited to report that it has FINALLY cooled down in Florida! I was about to give up on ever having temperatures below 80 degrees, but here I sit – wearing a sweater! (PS – Is it too early to listen to Christmas music while writing… I’m totally asking for a friend!)

Now that the weather is cooler, I am starting to feel that familiar anticipation for the holidays, and it’s a good thing since Christmas is less than 2 months away now! Yikes! I need to get on my Christmas gift list STAT!

If you are feeling that familiar dilemma, you have come to the right place – my new Shop Small Series! Over the next few weeks, these weekly posts will review several hand-picked small businesses that I recommend adding to your Christmas shopping list. It’s really a perfect combo to find Christmas gifts AND support small businesses (and therefore other families!)

Also, in late-November/early-December, I will publish a final post that will double as a Small Shop Gift Guide for YOU! In this guide, I will list the small shops that I have worked with and feel that I can support 100%. I know that I am not the only one who loves to “shop small,” but often ends up frustrated when sifting through all of the choices on Etsy!

This Shop Small Series is all about supporting small businesses this holiday season (or really, anytime during the year)! Silhouettes & Such creates hand-cut, historical silhouette portraits. I am so excited to share this review of their amazing work! #shopsmall #smallbusiness #silhouette #holidaygifts

This post is one of a small number of hand-selected sponsored posts. I hope you can believe me when I say that I will only ever suggest products or companies that I believe in 100%! In fact, in order to stay as authentic as possible, I have (and will continue) to filter offers based off of their relevance to me (AND you!) Occasionally, I may receive a free item in exchange for a honest review. Every option is mine and is not influenced by the company or free product. (Read more here.)

Today, I want to introduce you to a lovely little shop named Silhouettes & Such. I don’t know about you, but I love history and anything that lends itself to days long-gone! Have you ever seen a vintage-looking silhouette and wondered about the person it depicted? I find that these portraits are equally revealing (in the minutely captured details) and yet still mysterious (in the similar lack of features.) I was amazed by the extensive history of these art pieces after connecting with Shanlie Wolter – a traditional free-hand silhouettist who started Silhouettes & Such in 2010.

Hand cut silhouette of boy and girl

Shanlie is a self-taught artist and began her silhouette journey with paper and ink – eventually graduating to the more challenging but also historically authentic hand-cut method. She does not need to trace or photograph her clients to produce the silhouette portraits! She frequently travels to historic reenactments and and demonstrates this technique by cutting silhouettes of attendees.

Hand cut silhouette of boy and girl

After corresponding with Shanlie – a fellow mom and a friend, I wanted to understand more of the background behind this old art form. I had no idea that the history would extend back to the 1700s! (Although, there is even mention of the concept in ancient Roman writings from 79 A.D.) The fame of silhouettes peaked in America between 1810 and 1840. During this time, some artists converted from hand-cutting to using a tracing method, but others continued to free-hand their portraits. At a time when painted portraits and miniatures were very expensive (and photography had not yet been developed,) silhouettes were a way for the common man to possess a self-image. Eventually the rise of photography caused this art form to severely decline until it reemerged when people learned to appreciate it for it’s lovely simplicity coupled with mysterious detail. It is now practiced worldwide by many artists who combine their love of historic authenticity with their own personal flourishes (LeFever, 2009, pp. 60-69).

So what are my thoughts on our silhouettes?

I simply do not have words… Shanlie has captured my children’s profiles in the sweetest way imaginable. It took me DAYS to decide where to display them because I wanted to find the perfect nook in my home! I can personally guarantee you that I could not find a more endearing way to capture my children at their ages. (I mean, look at Little Man’s tiny pout!! I can’t even…) In a day and age when our world is FLOODED with images (the volume of photographs I have stored in a cloud is absurd!) silhouettes provide a more simplistic and appreciative focus on their subject.

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Now, because I realize what amazing Christmas gifts these portraits will make, I want to be sure that you know about Shanlie’s coupon code! To get 10% off of your purchase, enter HHH10 at the checkout page! That’s it! Also, be sure to give her a follow to hear about news and updates! ♥

Silhouettes & Such

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Also, don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post to stay in the loop with my Shop Small Series!

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Historical Reference:

LeFever, Gregory. “Faces in Black and White.” Early American Life, June 2009, pp. 60–69, www.gregorylefever.com/pdfs/Silhouettes%202.pdf.

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