BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) – When you walk into the Martha Link Walsh Gallery in Branford, you’ll see art everywhere, all made out of hand-cut paper.
This time of year, Martha Link Walsh herself will have transformed the space into a Winter wonderland with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and you can see all of the beautiful ornaments she’s made, ready to hang on your tree.
“All paper. Everything paper,” Walsh explained.
She started paper cutting as a hobby. That quickly changed.
“I started doing this afternoons and weekends at Bittersweet Farm and after a good year, I decided that I wanted to try doing it full time, so I took a year’s leave from teaching and then never went back,” continued Walsh.
That was almost fifty years ago.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to want to go to work in the morning. I loved teaching and I loved the kids, but this is immediate satisfaction,” says Walsh.
And you can see why, immediate satisfaction as she works on a custom piece, which is the bulk of her orders.
“People will come in and if it’s for a new baby, they’ll give me the name and the date, and the statistics. Then, if the room is decorated with any theme, I’ll keep into that and then I’ll do a sketch that gets approved. Then, I finalize the sketch, transfer it onto the paper to cut, cut it out with scissors or a scalpel, or both, then glue it on to an acid-free mat board, and then frame it,” stated Walsh.
She says during the pandemic, the custom work stopped, so she started working on something special.
“I started doing cuttings of animals with the mask wearing. I did the red panda and self isolation was the panda, because that’s what they do and so I started cutting, relating it to that, but then I really got excited about what animals symbolize and what their spirit is about and so then I did about thirty-two cuttings,” said Walsh.
Those cuttings will be in a new book. She has three other books related to the Christmas season and she stays true to the traditions of paper cutting, which is why her customers keep coming back.
“But if it’s all one color, it’s one piece of paper so all the parts are connected. If I make a cut and it’s two pieces, it goes in the trash and I start over again,” Walsh noted.
A lot of work and a lot of cutting, but a lot of gratification.
“And I’ve really been so lucky. My customers have been such fun to work with,” added Walsh.