Shadow People

Why are we so fascinated with our own silhouettes? After all, aren't they just opaque manifestations of our own likenesses? We live with our own shadows daily yet we often times forget that they are there at all. Still they remain faithfully attached to us; constant and quiet reminders of  of our solid representation in the universe. They appear and dissipate at will, as ghostly apparitions often do. Steadfast in following us everywhere as ethereal appendages to the end of our days, our shadows are at times so distorted from our actual form, they at times serve to act in both frightening and comforting capacities.

Ironically, the art of silhouette making was created in France in the late 1700's as a cheap alternative to traditional portraiture.  "Silhouette" came  to be synonymous with anything made or done cheaply thanks to Etienne de Silhouette, Frances prime minister who had imposed harsh economic sanctions upon French citizens. So despite our current fascination with such elegant and seemingly aristocratic looking art pieces, they are instead traced to the most humble of circumstances.

Sihlouette portrait cutting competition circa early

Cameos and the art of silhouette-making have enjoyed waves of popularity over the past couple of hundred years. and Once again we are seeing a resurgence of them in both fashion and interior design
A simple solution: a silhouetted
neo-classical figurine upholstered on the back
of a side chair creates a very elegant design
applicable to both traditional and contemporary interiors.


Osborne & Little wallcovering

The implications of the shadow are vast. It has historically evoked connotations of both good and evil and of separateness and unity. In Jungian psychology, the shadow acts as a complementary element to our conscious persona: the absence of inner light implies a lack of awareness and connection to our own capacity for thought, sensitivity, and compassion. Yet without the acknowledgement of the shadow there lacks the potential for complete awareness and wholeness. Neither light nor shadow can exist alone. Therefore the connotation for good or bad is negated; the shadow, connected to the light, exists within a neutral and mutual partnership.
Acrylic on canvas by Theo Stavropoulos

“What is your substance, whereof are you made,

That millions of strange shadows on you tend?” ~ William Shakespeare

Photo by Everett McCourt
Wallcovering by Duralee

Wallcovering from Osborne & Little.

"Best in Show" by Osborne & Little, $163 a
For further information on the wallcoverings available to the trade, please feel free to contact me.

Barbara Barry chinaware

A simple lamp and shade from
Target which I refashioned.

My friend Martha Hamilton created these exquisite Lace-like silhouettes using the ancient craft known as  "Scherenshnitte" (German paper cutting).
For more information on purchasing her artwork, please contact her at

Iconic silhouette of
Alfred Hitchcock


  1. The silhouette on the back of the chair is beautiful....very innovative;and the Osborne and Little wallpapers are gorgeous and equally applicable to contemporary,traditional and eclectic rooms.

  2. Love all the creative twists to the basic silhouette. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Have 2 pieces of Scherenshnitte that have been transformed a bit. One was cut out of a light paper and then filled in with wather color. The other work imcorporated 2 pieces of Scherenshnitte in a collage.

    Love your blog Agapi mou! Maria


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