Oct 02, 2015
Talk, Paper, Scissors
G.Willikers! Toy Shop is happy to host master silhouette artist Clay Rice this Sunday, October 4th. A gifted storyteller (he has 3 children's books: The Lonely Shadow, The Stick & Mama Let's Make a Moon ) Clay will be reading during his visit as well as taking appointments for creating a beautiful silhouette of your child. This is Clay's 6th visit to Portsmouth!
Here's an exerpt from a recent article in the Charleston City Paper...
"While most of his schoolmates were struggling to cut out circles with safety scissors, 6-year-old Clay Rice saw a blue heron and fashioned its silhouette from a blank piece of paper. That day, he began his apprenticeship in the family trade of paper-cut art.
“Silhouette artistry has been in my family for 85 years,” Rice says. His grandfather, Carew Rice, was dubbed “America’s Greatest Silhouette Artist.” The elder Rice traveled around the world, making profile portraits that became treasured keepsakes. He was also known for creating intricate paper-cut landscapes of his native South Carolina.
“Granddaddy made it look so easy,” Clay Rice says. “He started me out doing barnyard animals. Then he would say, ‘Cut out a cow, a pig, and a chicken all in a row.’” Soon a whole paper landscape unfolded.
Now Rice, 56, is a prolific artist in his own right. After trying his hand at songwriting in Nashville, he traded in his guitar for a pair of scissors. Thirty-three years later, he says he has made nearly one million silhouettes. He is also known for his exquisitely detailed fine art pieces in both paper and metal. “It’s amazing to see a thick piece of metal fall away like butter with your torch,” he says. “You can freehand these beautiful scenes — birds, trees. It really is a way to keep my art fresh.”
Despite his success in multiple media, Rice still longed for a way to combine his musical talents with his art. He cites poet Shel Silverstein as an inspiration. “A lot of people don’t realize he was a major hit songwriter,” Rice notes. Ultimately, Rice decided to write and illustrate his first picture book, “The Lonely Shadow,” about “a shadow in search of a child to belong to.”
The Lonely Shadow won a prestigious IPPY Award and was soon followed by “Mama, Let’s Make a Moon” and “The Stick,” a Benjamin Franklin Award winner. Rice’s books are selling well, he says, and have been translated into several languages. “The Stick” was recently adapted as a ballet by the Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma, Washington. "