Studio Place Arts exhibit – Leave a Paper Trail

Today I took a trip to Studio Place Arts (a.k.a. SPA) in Barre, VT for the last day of Leave a Paper Trail. SPA promoted the show as one “that exposes the versatile and beautiful qualities of paper.” I had intended to go much sooner than today, but, well, you know how that is.

The SPA Gallery is one of the under-appreciated jewels in central Vermont. I am certainly guilty on this count. Every time I go in there, I am not disappointed. And the shows are just the right size – not too big to digest in one visit.

One artist who stopped me in my tracks was Nancy Cook. Nancy had several wall pieces in the show made of incredibly detailed cut paper arrangements. One landscape was so lovely that I couldn’t believe that it was made of paper. I’m not sure what I thought it was made of, but I couldn’t process that it was paper. She also had floral arrangements made from cut paper that were so detailed that I was convinced that they were made of fabric.

I did a Google search on Nancy and found out that she has been working in paper since she was three years old (was I even potty-trained then?). She has an angel ornament in the permanent collection of the White House.

Her work has been included in Paper Art: The Complete Guide to Papercraft Techniques and Art of the Scrapbook: A Guide to Handbinding and Decorating Memory Books, Albums, and Art Journals, books by Diane Maurer-Mathison. I also found out that she’s a board member of the Guild of American Papercutters, which I didn’t know existed. I also found this biography about her online. Basically, I learned that she’s rather nifty.

I hadn’t really thought much of paper cutting before, as my exposure had been limited to the traditional Scherenschnitte, which really doesn’t appeal to me. Nancy’s work is much more free-form and sculptural than I would have expected from paper cutting. I appreciate having had the opportunity to see someone’s work and have my world opened up a little more.

8 Responses to “Studio Place Arts exhibit – Leave a Paper Trail”

By Nancy Cook - 16 February 2009 Reply

HI What a lovely writeup of my work. My daughter sent it to me.
I’ m so glad you enjoyed my pieces at SPA. A friend who is a member there invited me to participate. It was an incredible show. So many versions of paper art.

To explain the “young” involvement in papercutting, my grandmother was baking cookies, and I was eating the raisins and nuts faster than she could put them in the batter. She told me if I sat on a chair and didn’t get off , she’d show me something magical. She folded some paper, gave me a scissors and told me to cut holes in it. When I opened it up….”MAGIC”. Ever after that I created things.

Thank you again for the lovely comments.


By elissa - 17 February 2009 Reply

Hi Nancy,

So nice (and surprising) to hear from you! Sometimes I feel like I’m blabbering into the wind when I write in my blog. And to hear from someone with such fabulous work! Thanks so much for sharing that story about your grandmother. It’s wonderful to be able to share in someone’s memory of when a particular creative spark hit them.


By warren Luch - 16 February 2009 Reply

Good to see your report on the work of a fellow student coming out of the Allentown High School art class taught by Jim Musselman who had inspired a string of promsing artists to become proficient in paper sculpture. Nancy was one of those who really dived into this world of shaping and sculpting paper. Congratulations Nancy for a life time of achievement in this unique art form.

By elissa - 17 February 2009 Reply

Hi Warren,

It’s funny that I received your reply to this post on the same day that Nancy herself responded.


By Nancy Cook - 24 February 2009 Reply

The website you accessed is about 4 years old and is no longer maintained by the group Friday Morning artists. However , the Guild Of American Papercutters
site is is ongoing.
My work appears in 2 additional books by Diane Maurer-Mathison, Paper In 3 Dimensions, and The Art and Craft Of Handmade Cards.
I thank you again for the review which I forwarded to friends and Studio Place Arts.

Nancy Cook

By elissa - 24 February 2009 Reply

Hi Nancy,

I changed the Friday Morning Artists link to another one I found on Thanks for letting me know.

🙂 Elissa

By Peter Cook - 26 September 2009 Reply


My sister gave me the link to this and I have not read it before. My mom, Nancy Cook, passed away this summer. Its strange to read her comments online and we are all saddened by the sudden loss in our family. Thank you for the kind words and noticing the amazing work she left as a legacy on the world. I am creating a website now as a gallery of her life’s work.

By elissa - 26 September 2009 Reply

Hi Peter,

I’m so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Her work was truly inspirational.

When the website is completed, send me the link and I will publish it on the blog. I’d love for others to see Nancy’s amazing work.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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