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Ellen Sandbeck

I have been doing papercuts since 1988, when my son was born and the constant distraction of tending him made it difficult to do any form of artwork that involved drying time. I soon realized that papercutting was my true medium, and within a year had landed my first book contract, with Dover Publications, for a stencil book. Ten other books of original graphics followed. Then, in 1994, I began writing and illustrating my own books: Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles, (Broadway/Doubleday, 2000) Eat More Dirt, (Broadway/Doubleday, 2003) Organic Housekeeping, (Scribner, 2006) Green Barbarians, (Scribner, 2010).

Though my medium could be considered rather limiting, and even clumsy, I find its limitations a challenge, and tend to regard it as a game or a sport, as well as an art. Over the years, as I have refined my technique and learned more about my materials, the frequency of my papercutting disasters has diminished greatly—I no longer have to watch helplessly as a piece I have worked on all day falls apart in my hands after a single injudicious cut. I still make mistakes, but they are much smaller than they used to be.

B.A.  studio art from the University of California, Santa Barbara, 1979

Organic Landscape Designer, 1981-2010; Vermicomposting Specialist, U.S.B.O.P., 2007-present

Author/illustrator of the books: "Green Barbarians: Live Bravely on Your Home Planet" (Scribner, 2010); "Organic Housekeeping" (Scribner, 2006); "Eat More Dirt," Broadway/Doubleday 2003); Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles (De la Terre Press, 1995, Broadway/Doubleday, 2000), and has done eleven books of original graphics for Dover Publications.











Recent Shows:

  • April 2012, Phantom Gallery, Superior Wisconsin, "A Buddha A Day" show. The Phantom Gallery Project set up art shows in vacant storefronts in Superior, Wisconsin, as a way to promote artists, as well as to help show off vacant, available,  commercial spaces to potential businesses. It was successful on both counts.

  • April 2014, Red Mug Coffee Shop, Superior, Wisconsin "Rock, Paper, Scissors," solo show

  • July 2014, AICHO, "Northern Women: Below Zero Windchill Creations" Group Show

  • May 2017,  "On the Cutting Edge," AICHO.  Solo show

  • October 2017, College of St. Scholastica, "Harmony" Symposium on cross-cultural collaboration on environmental justice  (One piece: "We Were Stardust")

  • November 2017, AICHO "Maamawi:" Artist Group Exhibit and Calendar Release, group show (My piece is the June pinup.)

  • November 2017, Essentia Health/Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center, Duluth, MN solo show

  • June 28, 2018, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Minnetonka, MN, group show,

  • July 2018, 33 Contemporary Gallery, Chicago, IL,  group show,

  • August 2018, Gallery 724, Alexandria, VA, group show,

  • August 2018, AICHO, "Endangered,"  with Moira Villiard

  • October-November 2018, group show, Arts Unbound, Orange, New Jersey,

  • November 2018, solo show, The Edge Center, Big Fork, Minnesota

  • May 2019, solo show, Pyle Convention Center, Madison, Wisconsin   Credentials

Scan 'Stardust' 11x17-L.jpg
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