Beatrice Straubhaar
born1956 in Saanen
married since 2010 with Gino Peretti

first paper cutting 1984

Every person IS ORIGINAL and should STAY ORIGINAL

I grew up in GSTAAD and since 1979 I live in Lauenen. Lauenen is a small but very charming village next to Gstaad and from my window I can see the most beautiful nature, with animals which is of great inspiration to me.  I think the Saanenland is the most beautiful place on earth but I could also imagine myself living somewhere else, maybe with mountains not so close but more lakes.
My physical activities (hobbies) are very important because I’m not a very calm person. I have to be very patient while doing my artworks but otherwise I’m a very “quick” and I have to find a balance. When I met my husband Gino I started riding my own motorcycle. A long time ago I liked windsurfing but with Gino we started sailing and we have our own little catamaran. I also like skiing, cross country skiing and I visit some fitness lessons like Zumba and gymnastic in the most beautiful sport center in Gstaad.

I made my first paper cutting in 1984 at the age of 28, but my first contact with this very traditional artwork was at the age of 6. My mother was a member of the former art-association Saanenland at the time. Christian Schwizgebel was showing his paper cuttings and this is where I met him for the first time. I was very impressed. I started more or less out of curiosity on a Wednesday night in 1984. I found my inspiration in the work of other artists, whose work I admired especially my idol Christian Schwizgebel.

The technique: every artist has his one technique, one starts with a very exact drawing on the usually white backside of the paper. Others just make rough outlines and very few artists can even cut without any drawing.  I draw people, animals and houses accurately, but I only sketch trees and ornaments. I use the “usual” paper cutting-scissors. Each artist has his own preferred scissors. Some artists even make their own scissors. It means they buy traditional scissors and shorten and sharpen them to their preferences. It is very difficult to say how long it takes to complete an artwork. Depending on the size it can be just a few hours but it can also be 100 hours or even a lot more. It is very tiring for the eyes but I use a very good “day-light” lamp and my glasses and sometimes for very fine details I even use special glasses. I don’t know if we can say that the technique has changed a lot over the years. Paper has changed and so did scissors, cutters are also used and the way the paper cuttings are framed has also evolved. Some artists only use X-acto knife.

In my paper cuttings there are always returning themes. In the past the themes where more like hard work, today you can also see themes like sports and leisure. The “going up to the alp” with cows and goats, cheese making in the alp-cottages are always returning as well as special traditions like “Suufsuntig” a festival which happens every summer on a Sunday on most of the Alps where the farmers stay all summer long. Hunting is a very traditional theme as well as personalized themes like family, wedding-ceremonies and many others. Some of my paper cuttings are shown in exhibitions or shops in the region and sometimes I have exhibitions in Hotels and Restaurants. Some local Hotels and Restaurants have also decorated their dinning-rooms or bedrooms with my artwork. (Property hotels!) Hotel Landhaus Saanen and Ermitage Wellnes & Spa Hotel.

I had the pleasure to participate in a few TV-shows about the Gstaad-Saanenland and my work was published in several publications and books or newspapers articles and recently also in blogs. (English version @ travelmemo.com) Many of my paper cuttings were also used for advertising. The anniversary magazins for 100 year Tennis Tournement in Gstaad  (Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad) was published with my special Tennis papercutting on the cover. From January 6th- March 3rd the shop windows from BEYER Chronométrie AG the wellknown Jewelry and Watches “paradise on the Bahnhofstrasse” in Zürich are decorated with some of my winter-scenes.

As an artist you also make sometimes bad experiences because others are trying to copy your style or steal your works. First everyone starts his career by copying his idol but it’s a shame if someone copies your work and sells it for his own. Things like this make me sad…… because I think every person IS ORIGINAL and should STAY ORIGINAL.
As I am an independent artist I will never really retire. I just hope that my hands and my eyes will make it possible for me to make paper cuttings for a long long time in my future. I’m convinced that paper cuttings have a FUTURE, especially in the Saanenland!