Skip to main content

You are here

  • Jan 06, 2014

Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle Brings The Art of Contemporary Papercutting To The American Swedish Institute

Papercut! Image Gallery available at

Art that makes you stop and wonder.  That’s what Danish-Norwegian artist Karen “Bit” Vejle is inspired to create each time she picks up her tiny but trusted sewing scissors and begins to transform a single piece of paper into large-scare scenes that are worthy of the most elaborate dreamscapes. Vejle is repurposing Denmark’s rich tradition of psaligraphy (papercutting) for a contemporary audience by creating playful, unexpected motifs and images.


Vejle’s work makes its Minneapolis debut in “Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle”. The 30 piece show runs January 25-May 25, 2014 at the American Swedish Institute’s Osher Gallery and Turnblad Mansion Galleries.  

Psaligraphy — the art of paper cutting — is an art form that takes painstaking patience and concentration. Bit Vejle’s works are formed from a large, continuous piece of paper that is folded one, two, and three times, and then cut using only a pair of scissors. Every single scissor cut is carefully planned, as the slightest mistake can have disastrous consequences for the finished result.

“Everything in the world today is moving so fast, but psaligraphy is the opposite. It is slow art. It takes a very long time to cut and create. We often forget to stop and reflect on our lives and our choices in life. I hope that when people come and see the exhibition that they will stop a little bit and pause,” says Vejle, a former television producer turned artist. 

Vejle will be in Minneapolis to speak to her work at the exhibit opening on Friday, January 24 at 6:30pm. She will lead tours of the exhibit on Saturday, January 25 at 10:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.. All events are open to the public.

Papercut! Exhibit Opening and Artist Talk   

Friday, Jan 24. 5:00-8:30 p.m.  6:30 p.m. Artist talk.


In her first ever Minneapolis appearance, Vejle will speak to her experience of repurposing Denmark’s long tradition of psaligraphy for a modern audience.

The evening includes exhibit highlight tours led by ASI staff offered at 5:00, 5:45 and 745 pm. FIKA, ASI’s award winning café will be serving dinner until 7pm (reservations are available by calling 612-871-4907). The Museum shop will be open til 7pm.   $7 ASI members;  $10 nonmembers.  Advance registration suggested; call 612-871-4907.

Papercut! Exhibit Tours with “Bit” Vejle

Saturday, Jan. 25. 10am, 11:15am & 12:30pm.

Walk through Vejle’s elaborate and delicate world with the artist herself in these 30 minute tours. Included with museum admission. No reservations necessary.

Celebrating Paper Arts with Minnesota Center for Book Arts


In conjunction with Papercut!  ASI will offer a series of papermaking and paper arts workshops in partnership with Minnesota Center for Book Arts.  Course fees include admission to exhibit and will be offered on site at the American Swedish Institute and MCBA’s Minneapolis studio. For more information and a full schedule visit 


Concurrent ASI Shows Honor Variety of Paper Arts

During the run of Papercut!, visitors can also explore two smaller shows which speak to the strength and variety of paper arts featuring poet Ed Bok Lee and Minneapolis' papercut artist Sonja Peterson: Metatranslations: Ed Bok Lee’s Intervention in ASI’s Library and Archives (Jan. 14-May 25, 2014) and Entangled Introductions: Works by Sonja Peterson (Feb. 1 – April 26, 2014).

Open Eye Theater’s “My Life As a Fairytale” To Compliment


In celebration of the Danish author, poet, storyteller and children’s book writer, Hans Christian Andersen, and his impact on the art form of psaligraphy (papercutting), Open Eye Theatre, the Minneapolis-based theater company specializing in puppetry arts, brings Andersen’s personal story to life on stage in the Turnblad Mansion in this creative production produced for ASI.

The 30-minute show includes table top puppetry, dance and music and is fun for all ages. Ticket includes admission to the museum featuring the exhibition Papercut! and its interactive youth and family gallery.

$10 (ages 2 and under free). Tickets: call ASI at 612-871-4907. Advance registration is encouraged and seating is limited.

“My Life as a Fairy Tale” presented by Open Eye Theater at the American Swedish Institute

Wednesday, January 29, 7 p.m.

Saturday, February 1, 11 a.m.

Saturday, February  8,  11 a.m.

Saturday, February 15, 11 a.m.




Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle is made possible through individual gifts from donors, ASI members and support from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, Bergren Family Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board.


ABOUT KAREN “BIT” VEJLE: Karen Bit Vejle creates images of air and paper. Her magical cuttings are rooted in a tradition that has known a long journey through history, beginning in the first century, when paper was first invented by the Chinese. In fact, the Chinese started cutting in paper before they used it for writing. The art of psaligraphy has developed differently throughout the world, but is particularly rooted i Chinese and other Asian cultures, and also in Bit’s native country of Denmark. However, Bit has created a personal style and technique that is entirely her own.

Vejle’s form of expression, psaligraphy, literally means the art of drawing or painting with scissors. She opened her first show at The National Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim, Norway in 2008, and in few years her art has spread throughout Scandinavia and all the way to the USA and China. Her artistic work spans from the travelling exhibition Scissors for a Brush to commissioned work for several renown international companies, such as Hermés and Georg Jensen.

About the American Swedish Institute: The American Swedish Institute (ASI) is a vibrant arts and cultural organization, museum, and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  In 2013, the Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.”

ASI Museum Hours:  Tues, Thurs, Fri: noon-5 p.m.; Wed noon-8p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5p.m.; Sun. noon0-5p.m., closed Mon. Museum Admission: $9 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5  ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.

share this