Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Paper Cuttings.

Not the kiddy crude type we used to do during Art & Craft lessons, mutilating bits of paper in a determined effort to come up with something remotely representing a mutated goldfish. I'm talking about the real stuff, done by those Chinese craftsmen with coloured paper and that old fashioned sharp metal scissors, the kind I used to find in my Granny's sewing box, just bigger.
There's some Chinese crafts fair/show at Raffles City shopping center as I'm sure most of the locals (who do get out) would know that displays a wide range of merchandise from Stone-carved teapots to Chinese paintings and exquisite porcelain/ china. But the one thing that really caught my attention was the Paper Cuttings corner. There is something so attractive about paper cuttings, so intricate and delicately beautiful, it is art that never ceases to amaze and enthrall me. Cutting paper is easy, cutting paper to turn it into some thing entirely different, life like scenes of animals, flowers and scenery that are as vivid as they are delicate is most certainly not.

So the first time I walked past the store, I dithered but I didn't really stop to buy anything, partly cause I was late and partly due to the lack of a price tag on the nicely framed pieces. I came back last Saturday when the family walked to City Hall after a gluttonous fest at Sichuan Dou Hua at Grand Plaza Hotel which was really good value for money. Checked out the prices but didn't buy again, partly due to fact that the mother was asking alot of stupid questions like (You really cut this yourself, not machine made? in bastardized Chinese and English. which went something like : Ni zhen de Jian Zhi ji? Not machine jian? --You really cut yourself? Not Machine cut? *Cringe*) but mainly due to the fact that I didn't have any cash on hand then(didn't know you could pay by NETs).
I came down again today, determined to get the stuff I wanted. After a very pleasant surprise at his place (It was great, dear, but give me some warning in the future, I thought I was going to die. ^^) we went down to Komala's Indian Vegetarian fast food at the basement of Peninsular Plaza for dinner. That place is a real gem, you can walk right past it and not know of the number of nice eateries below. It didn't disappoint even after all these years, cheap, tasty (take the south Indian set..V1 or something) and filling to boot, plus it's in town.
So anyway I returned to the spot, Sean in tow, intending to get one for myself and one for Sean for his upcoming birthday cum V-day gift. Even though we had agreed at the start of the year we wouldn't be giving presents this year since we were both so bloody broke, me from my a little excessive spending on manga (Which has been reduced drastically) and him on god knows what (alright food and lodging). But still I felt that a nicely framed paper cutting was rather beautiful and something which I knew he'd appreciate and I didn't mind spending on. Old habits die hard.
Was asking him to choose between a couple and he was still under the impression that it was for someone else but the one he picked out was really nice and I got the guy to frame the one I wanted.

His. Mine.

And then he gave me another surprise. I'd always been looking at another paper cutting that looked absolutely stunning. Apart from its circular border and the centric scheme of the entire cutting which appeared to revolve around a single peony in the center which I found highly attractive, the unique navy blue colour also grabbed my attention. But it was rather huge and more importantly, it cost a sizable $68 bucks. Sean saw it too and commented that it was a really nice piece. To which I wistfully agreed and lamented the price but we both stood there admiring it, like some kid at the candy store. Then, he suddenly asked, Do you want me to get that for you?

"Ah, it's really nice but it's very expensive and I thought we decided no gifts this year?" even though my greedy little heart was already going, Oh yes PLEASE.

"Nah, it's alright." Turning, he asked the delighted guy to wrap it up after bargaining it down to $60 and proceeded to pay for it.

His present to me. ( 100 Butterflies the guy said, I counted till 68 and gave up but I don't doubt him.)

Then he handed it over to me and said, 'Happy V-day, must hang it up k?' So as much as I wanted to wrap his framed paper cutting nicely, I couldn't help blurting out that I'd actually bought one for him. To which he looked genuinely surprised.

Is it? Isn't this for XXX?

'Hrrmm no, that's the other unframed cutting.'

"Oh, thanks." And he looked genuinely pleased.

Later over coffee at Gloria Jeans I asked him to take out his paper cutting as I wanted to snap a shot of it. Musing over it he asked one of his out of the blue questions as he is wont to do, though this time round I'll admit he did see the very same thing I saw.

"So which one are you supposed to be?" He asks pointing at the magpies(?)

"Erm.. the one on top. I mean the branch."

"Hey." comes the reply, I think he missed the slip. "That's exactly what I think too."

"Hmmm, whys that?"

"Cause whenever I'm talking, you're thinking about something else."

"... Idiot. I should be the one saying that."

And I cuffed him playfully while he grinned and reclined back on the sofa. Ah, the little things in life. Thank you.

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