Silhouettes by K. Housel Bogue
Family Tradition of Scissor Art
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An mature woman with glasses
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cut by Kaye Housel

It all began in the fall of 1946, in the mountains north of Los Angeles, California when Kaye Housel was asked by Marsha, the oldest of her five children, what her class could do to raise money at the school PTA Carnival.  It being Hallowe'en, Kaye envisioned black profiles against orange background, done in construction paper. She then volunteered to cut silhouettes, but knowing nothing about it, she went to the library, found a book about silhouettes, practiced on her children, and in spite of having no experience in cutting silhouettes, she cut excellent likenesses both at home and at the carnival.  The idea was a great success; she charged a quarter apiece and used 9" dressmaker's shears! Over the ensuing years, Kaye Housel became very well known over most of the United States for her profile silhouettes.  She is a very principled artist, cutting a "pure" silhouette without embellishment, and without exaggeration of any feature, like eyelashes, for example. She cuts exactly what she sees, period, resulting in a true profile portrait.  Eventually all four of her daughters took up the art form, which is obviously inherited, as none of them had any training, either from her or from special classes.
Here you will find short biographies on the members of Kaye Housel's family who are engaged in the silhouette cutting art. Their styles vary considerably as do their techniques, and their philosophies on the art form.

Two year old special needs child
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Cut by Kaye Housel in 1971

Kaye Housel, your artist's mother, was born Kathrine Marsh in Rochester, NY in 1913.  She grew up in Scottsville, NY just south of Rochester.  At a time when very few women attended college, she went to what is now Rochester Institute of Technology (then called Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute) and graduated as a Dietition. 
In 1935, she married Dale O. Housel also of Rochester. She followed her husband who was a Contract Flight Instructor for the Army Air Corps, Air Force, and later the Army, and began cutting silhouettes at the above-mentioned school Hallowe'en party in 1946. 
In the years following she cut silhouettes of her own children from time to time and those of her friends.  When guests came to dinner, they would not leave without their silhouette. 
Once all five of her children were in school, she entered into the work world as a Link Instructor, teaching would-be Air Force pilots how to fly instruments by use of the Link Trainer or "blue box" as it was called in the fifties.  She always cut silhouettes of all of her students.  During the  years they were in Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama she began supplementing their income by cutting silhouettes now and then at a store or antique show.  In the sixties in Alabama she began to cut more often, going on weekends to art shows, children's shops, and Department Stores.  This went so well that her husband decided it would do well for him to quit his flying and travel with his wife, making and selling frames for her silhouettes.  They worked as a team, moving to Maine, where they lived for twenty-three years while working in the silhouette business all over New England and New York.  As they aged they began going to south Alabama for part of each year and continued on a more limited basis to work in the silhouette business.
Kathrine Marsh Housel, who lived to within ten days of her 93rd birthday passed away in January of 2006.  She is sorely missed.

The first of Kaye Housel's children to become a professional silhouette artist was Judith Housel.  She began her career in Pennsylvania in 1966 and has been very prolific in her art, cutting at more different types of venues than her sisters.  She has cut at fundraisers, children shops, department stores, craft shows, art shows, on her houseboat,  and in recent years has found her niche cutting at day care centers in the western states primarily.  She has lived coast to coast, traveled extensively in her motor home for the purpose of seeing the country as well as cutting silhouettes.  Her work is excellent.  In addition to cutting silhouettes, she is a self-taught painter and pastel artist, and is in high demand for her portraits in those media as well.  To see her beautiful portraits see her website www.judithhousel.com  She can be contacted at the following address:
Judith Housel Akers
140 Venango Circle
Marquette, Kansas 67464
 
Her phone number is 620.755.1941
 
 
Judith's daughter Pam Benton Hines was the first in the family to make it a "Three Generation Phenomenon." Pam spent much of her childhood observing her mother's techniques and soon began developing her own. Like her mother, she is an excellent silhouette artist, painter and pastel artist.  She is also a horse breeder and loves to draw and paint horses, especially the Andulusians she loves so much! You may visit Pam's  website at:
www.silhouettecutter.com to see samples of her beautiful work and to contact her.
 
The second of Kaye Housel's children to begin cutting silhouettes professionally was Nancy Housel.  Her work is beautifully uplifting to look at and the quality of the likeness was excellent. Sadly she gave up the profession after only a few years in the late 60's and 70's. Her health prevents her from pursuing the art today, but I feel sure she could step right into it without missing a beat! Her silhouettes of animals are breathtaking!
 
Kathie whose website this is, was the third of the four daughters to beging cutting professionally and did so at the behest of her husband Zach who has managed the business ever since she began in 1968.  Kathie, during her 41year career has cut from Maine to South Texas to Phoenix to Ohio and New York including most of the states inbetween!  Most of her work has been in the country's nicer department stores including Macy's, Rich's, Hechts, Kaufmann's, Dillard, Sanger Harris, Belks, Miller and Rhoads, Leggett's, Hess's, Proffitts, and Chappell's. She has also cut in many children's shops, antique shows, Christmas Shows, and Arts and Crafts shows.  She is known for her ability to create an excellent true-to-life likeness, and even the personality of the subject. Her professional name K. Housel Bogue was chosen to honor the name of both her mother and her husband who were both so instrumental in her success . Her contact information is all over this website! bogue@coastalnet.com is the quickest way to get her!

 The last of the sisters to start cutting silhouettes professionally was Marsha the oldest, the one who caused it all to happen with her innocent question in the sixth grade.  Marsha came home from school and asked what her class could do to make money at the P.T.A. Halloween carnival.  Her mother thinking of black and orange said, “I could cut black silhouettes and glue them on orange paper."  She had never cut silhouettes before, but began practicing on her own and the neighborhood children.  The P.T.A. carnival was a success which started Mrs. Housel on what eventually became a career as a professional silhouette artist.  She has been cutting for over fifty years and has done well over 400,000 silhouettes. 

 

Marsha and her husband, Roy Hayes, started teaching in 1958 and for 35 years taught in Texas public schools.  Marsha taught primarily biology and art, while Roy taught math and coached football, basketball, and tennis.  During the years after 1970, they worked as a silhouette team on weekends and during summers. She worked as a professional silhouette artist and he took care of the receipts and framing.   Mrs. Hayes has cut silhouettes at art festivals, the Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair, and department stores.  She has done work for many charitable causes among which are, community and civic organizations, PTA groups, women’s groups supporting their primary schools, and a children’s museum.  For several years she cut silhouettes all night at each of the pro-grad parties held for the new graduates at the two local highschools.

 

Marsha like most of the other members of the family, uses the classic, free hand cutting method with surgeons’ iris scissors on black silhouette paper, trying to capture as near a likeness of her subject as possible.  Some artists do quick inaccurate cuttings, but a true silhouette should be the subject’s actual profile. 

Marsha may be reached at rmhayes@beecreek.net

 

 

Marsha's daughter, Joyce Hayes Wade is a third generation silhouette artist.  Her grandmother, mother, three aunts and one cousin are all accomplished silhouette artists.

 

Joyce picked up the scissors in 1996 when she and her husband decided to start their family.  Silhouettes and scherenschnitte  (paper cutting) would be something Joyce could do while starting her new career - motherhood.

 

Mrs. Wade has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas, a Master of Arts Degree from Southwest Texas State University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Texas A & M University.  Her undergraduate degree is in Biology and Theatre Arts.  Her post-graduate field is Theatre Arts/Scenic Design.  In addition she studied two years at NYU’s Tish School of the Arts.  She has won state and national honors for her work.  She has worked on numerous theatrical productions in New York City; Allentown, PA; Boulder, CO; Houston and Austin, TX.  While in Austin, she also worked as a scenic artist on the motion picture, "Courage Under Fire" starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan. 

 

When Joyce and her husband moved to Uvalde, TX and began their family Joyce decided it was time to do what her mother had long encouraged her to.  She bought a pair of surgeon’s iris scissors, the family’s preferred silhouette cutting instrument, and began practicing this rare art.  She soon found that she does have a talent for cutting silhouettes.   

 

Her first scherenschnitte designs were created as gifts for family and friends.  First was a heart shaped tree with two “love birds” perched inside for her parents 40th wedding anniversary, next a pineapple symbolizing welcome for a housewarming gift, then a basket of flowers to cheer a friend in the hospital.  Joyce has since created many other scherenschnitte designs and continues developing more. 

 

Mrs. Wade currently lives in Hondo, TX where she continues to do her papercutting, supplying her work to shops in central Texas.

Contact her at:     Joyce Wade

P.O. Box 1

Hondo, TX 78861

 

 

Friend Connie in her hat
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Drawn, then cut by Joyce Hayes Wade

For more information contact Kathie Housel Bogue