Paper Sculpture

Three Dimensional Art and My German Heritage

The German word putz means something “to put”. In the German-American vernacular, it means something like to “putter around.”  German-Americans and related cultures have been setting up little villages at Christmastime for at least a century and a half.  Once the houses and accessories came out, family members would “putz around” with the pieces until they were “just right.” It was a family ordeal.

*For many years, the “putzers” would use toy wooden houses or house-shaped cardboard candy boxes from Germany. But the advent of 8-bulb electric Christmas light sets brought about a new kind of putz house – Japanese-made cardboard houses decorated with sparkly materials and/or fake snow and equipped with translucent (usually cellophane) windows that glowed when you stuck a C6 light through a hole in the back. For over thirty years, mass-marketers like Sears-Roebuck offered fairly simple versions of these, usually in sets of eight. But in recent years, collectors have unearthed a fascinating variety of putz houses, many of which show surprising creativity for an art form which must have wholesaled in the penny-a-piece range.  Recently Pinterest has added to their popularity under “putz houses” or “glitter houses”.

My “Putz” houses are made totally with card stock paper, stiffening agents, and fine glitter.  I use my computer graphics program to build my pattern from the bottom up.  The final pieces don’t show up as beautifully as they are in person. If anyone knows how to photograph glitter, please leave a comment on my site and clue me in.  I have tried everything without as much success as I would like. In person they are magical!


* Pete Oehman