Scissorcuts in Colour

A series of German-Canadian Christmas themed puzzles with matching cards is

These colour scissorcuts were a project commissioned back in the 1990s, by the German Canadian Congress in Ottawa. 

The original scissorcuts were initially just printed as cards, but the idea to republish and also make them into puzzles brings out the size and feel of the original artwork more dramatically.

More Roadtrips through the beautiful Prairie!

 On the way to Shaunavon in southern Saskatchewan - gorgeous prairie inside and out. The Grand Coteau Centre offered amazing displays in its natural history museum! Nature also offered the scenic views we've come to love and that inspired both Waltraude and her late husband Fritz to create many, and a wonderful variety of art works. 




This was the fourth trip to meet the hosts and some of the community of art galleries showing the 3 year travelling OSAC Scissorcut exhibit.

Endless sunshine, endless fields, dotted with hay bales and a church. 


Scissor Cutting Fun!

Remnants of scissor cutting fun in the Shaunavon workshops



The roadtrip through the September country side ended up in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, where the OSAC travelling Scissorcut exhibit was held:

As seen by the Grand Coteau Centre's Instagram post, it was mutually exciting to visit and tour the museum. Not only the scissor cut display, but especially the workshops and the historical and prairie flora and fauna collection! Wow!!!

Travels North

What a great way to celebrate the amazing Saskatchewan prairies!

Taking a trip to Shellbrook in the middle of minus 40 degree beauty, to visit the first of many exhibits of the travelling Scherenschnitt exhibit put on by OSAC, the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils.


It was quite apparent what inspired many of the motifs of the black and white landscapes by Waltraude Stehwien.


We're excited to announce that more of Waltraude's art has been self published. We've taken some favorite motifs of her unique application of the ancient art of scissorcutting and published a series of art cards.

These and much more is available for sale at these annual Saskatoon Art & Craft fairs:

WDM Christmas Arts & Craft Faire - mid October
Our Best to You, Prairieland Park - mid November
Sundog Faire, Sask Place - beginning of December

Travels to Dresden, Germany

Mr. Rebehn receiving the puppets

As a follow-up to our reunification story below, we are happy to announce that the Barthold puppets have a new home as of October 2016.
The curious coincidence was that the donation of the puppets to the Dresden Puppentheatersammlung museum was completed during the beginning of October, around the time of the anniversary of reunification of divided Germany. The irony there is that it was the political turmoil of war and communist government that saw these puppets 'escape' in the first place.

Waltraude & Barbara - daughter and granddaughter of the puppeteer Oskar Barthold (1904-1980) travelled to Dresden to personally deliver the artifacts, including the Hans Wurst marionette, 3 hand puppets, 3 puppet heads, and the evil marionette character, The Pest as well as transcripts of the plays performed in the 1940s.

Two of the puppets on the museum table
We had hoped to get the puppets into an exhibit in either Saskatoon or Regina, before their final journey, but local interest was very limited and it didn't come to pass.
Quite the opposite was the interest at the Dresden Puppentheatersammlung museum - they were very anxious and indeed quite honoured to receive these items, as puppet theatre is their sole focus.
Garnison Church of St. Martin
It was enviable to see how theatre, arts and culture are state and bank supported, and, although the museums always struggle for sufficient funds, a larger facility for a permanent exhibit is planned. We are very much looking forward to seeing the Barthold story take its place in history at last.

The conservator, Mr. Lars Rebehn, very passionately received the items and toured us through their entire collection housed in parts of the Garnison Church of St Martin. We were overwhelmed. With a gift of museum and gallery passes, we spent a couple of days touring  other famous collections and were able to admire many world famous works of art.
Touring through the home of the marionettes
Sadly, we were also witness to some demonstrations related to current political issues right in the beautiful historic centre of the old market square.
But good weather, great food and the dialect of our former home enhanced this trip throughout. Meeting other well known people in theater was also an honour and left us feeling that this was the right thing to do and that the treasured family puppets are in good hands.

Old memories, fascinating new research

The 25th anniversary of reunification of Germany Oct 3, 2015 has brought back memories of how the East German post war communist government destroyed the successful touring Marionette Theatre Barthold, and confiscated everything, including the puppets. Waltraude (Barthold) Stehwien’s late father, Oskar Barthold, a puppeteer since the 1930s managed to ‘steal’ a few of the puppets of his own design, before escaping the dictatorship to West Germany. These puppets and the entire chronicles & manuscripts of a travelling puppeteer, ended up in the Stehwien collection here in Saskatoon.

Thanks to reunification, these puppets are now able to go home. Home to eastern Germany, where they performed regularly to high acclaim between 1947 and 1949.

Plays included old traditional legends of Dr. Faustus and the Magic Violin as part of the series for adults, and fairy tales like Rumpelstiltskin and the Magic Lantern for children.

This year, two puppet theater museums, one in Dresden (former East) and one in Munich (former West) are collaborating on a combined puppetry exhibit for 2016. Waltraude Stehwien has decided to make a donation of several puppets to the Dresden museum, as the interest in hers and her father’s story continues to grow. Theirs is a long story of the short lived travelling marionette theater under communist rule, plus the adventures of owning a successful hand puppet theater for many years before that. This smaller theater travelled throughout eastern Europe in the 1930s, and performed most often in central Germany and Austria.

These two marionettes from the play Dr. Faustus, one the happy 'Hans Wurst' and the other, the obviously very evil 'Die Pest' are the ones Oskar Barthold helped 'escape' confiscation.

Barthold marionettes sketched by Fritz Stehwien

Three remaining character heads from an innovative filming of puppet plays, produced while living in exile in Vienna 1942 to 1945, will also be accompanying the marionettes. It is also hoped, that the entire confiscated collection may one day resurface, and be reunited with the few puppets that managed to ‘escape’, when their home country was split in two after the war. Oskar Barthold escaped to West Germany, pretty much a broken man, like many other censored artists, but did not live to see either the fall of the wall, or reunification.

Oskar Barthold  1904-1980

His legacy will live on however, and where better to preserve the puppets and tell their story, than in dedicated museums of puppetry in a unified Germany.

'In Black & White' Book Review 2014

The link to the review appears to have expired, so here it is directly:

In Black and White: A Stroll Through Canadian Landscapes is a book unlike any other I've encountered. It is a collection of scissorcuttings, also known as papercuttings, which are an art form with a history that traces all the way back to sixths century China. Using only black paper and negative space, Waltraude Stehwien creates evocative landscapes and cityscapes that are instantly recognizable to anyone who has travelled through Saskatchewan and Western Canada.

The only text in the book is the title of each piece, and the only colours are the simple black and white of Stehwien's artwork, but as you flip through each page, you can't help but feel there is a story here. There is also a depth and a kind of warmth that comes from Stehwien's work, and almost a sense of nostalgic serenity from the prairie scenes that are often devoid of people and wildlife. You can tell you are looking at something that took a lot of time and skill to create, and you can almost feel the chill winter wind, or hear the lone blackbird trilling as you take in the detail of her work.

Part art book, part journey, and part exploration of a dying craft, In Black and White is as stark as prairie winters, but feels much more like a homecoming to anyone who has spent time in Saskatchewan or along Canada's west coast. It is incredible to look at what Waltraude Stehwien can do with just black paper, a pair of scissors and a vision of Canadian landscapes.

Review by Jessica Bickford from SaskBooks, SPG Book Reviews, May 14, 2014