SCIZ WHIZ

Pictorial Documentary
of a
 Sciz Whiz Genius

Join Yuki, 2 ½ years of age, during his seven years of creative journeys with scissors.
Believe in your child because with your love and support, your child knows that anything is possible.

I love kids. There is nothing more exciting than watching fireworks of imagination explode when children are immersed in their own world of creative energy. Focused and alert, their gaze is intense while their hands, hearts and minds are driven by some creative spark deep within their being. I believe that every child is a creative genius, and that the degree to which that creative genius evolves depends upon how parents and teachers respect, honor, support and nurture the child. I have had the honor of teaching thousands of kids and believe that what they have taught me in return is priceless. I remain humbly thankful that they felt comfortable enough to let me share in their imaginative adventures.

This Sciz Whiz section is a pictorial documentary of a remarkable child who not only shares a passion for cutting and creativity, but who, over a long period of time, constantly and consistently cut and created in his free time because he loved it and because he was allowed to pursue his passion. This pictorial section is a tribute to his parents and other parents and educators who allow kids mental and physical space to create, who teach them to respect tools and to recycle materials and who respect the artistic passion in each child, believing and helping them to believe that they are a creative genius.

Yuki came to my class with his mother when he was 2 ½. Fascinated at the ease in which I made “half-cuts”, he was determined to make his own creations. However, he preferred my adult scissors to “kids scissors”. With his mother’s permission, I showed him several larger scissors and he chose sharp, pointed ones with black handles shown in the photo. We talked about scissors safety and care, and he promised
to use them only when his mom was present.

Even at 2 ½ years of age, fringing and straight cuts were not challenging enough for Yuki. Despite my cutting agenda for Moms and Kids, he was not excited doing simple cuts. Knowing his interest for fish,
I folded paper in half, cut out a fish and made it swim in the air. His eyes flashed. Î showed him how to
“cut and turn”, a difficult task that teaches how turn the paper, not the scissors when making curves and circular shapes. From then on he cut every fish in the ocean! His first fish cuts in class were small and
cut from origami as shown.

Each week he came to class carrying a huge shopping bag filled with fish cuts, some of which were larger than he was! Not only did he cut, he knew their names. Yuki and his mom knew how to recycle and reuse papers because the fish were cut from flyers, newspapers, food and real estate ads, used wrapping paper and old calendars as seen in the photo of him with his parents. Nothing was wasted.

As we do not use pencils, guidelines or templates in my classes, Yuki’s first fish were made using free hand “Half-cuts” (paper is folded in half, then half of the image desired is cut to make a whole). By the age of 3 he had cut so many fish that under his direction, his mom and I glued the fish and air bubbles onto a paper banner 10 meters long and 2 meters wide. This became part of Yuki’s first exhibit. Some
of the fish were so large that they had been cut from several pieces of paper.

Knowing he liked challenges, I took some paper and, as though it were a game, cut out loops. Despite
the complexity of the cut, I watched in wonder as he went on to turn his loops into waves, animal limbs
and whale spouts.

During the time when he was 4-5 years old, he developed a passion for dinosaurs. I showed him the “monster teeth” and “jaws” cuts knowing full well he would surprise me with cut gaping mouths full of teeth. Every week he brought in more shopping bags filled with every paper-cut dinosaur that ever lived. He knew all of their names and everything about them. As amazing as his cuts were, I knew he could take them to a new level. The feet and limbs of his dinosaurs were straight and simple, and I suggested that he study the dinosaur body parts in his books and consider making the limbs and body movements as dynamic and powerful as the dinosaurs had been.

With the greatest of ease and confidence, he did.

Every artist goes through phases. Yuki became fascinated with animated movies and books featuring
Tim Burton characters. Following his “dinosaur phase”, he entered a ” freaky ghoul and skeleton phase” and made creatures, ghouls, skeletons and unusual people.

One day, Yuki brought in a huge mural that he had done at home. He had cut out gigantic dinosaurs,
and painted them for a story panel. Leaves on the trees were cut from different kinds of papers. The
painted forms seemed to move across the mural. The photos shown are only a portion of the mural.

During my summer workshop, students cut their favorite animation characters. Yuki not only cut his favorite character, but the character’s name in Japanese kanji (characters), too.

Entering a new elementary school, with the birth of his sister, Yuki took a leave of absence. When he returned he was frustrated at first saying hat his cutting was “rusty”. I suggested he cut dinosaurs.
The result was the green dinosaur that he turned into a puzzle. Before long, other dinosaurs literally walked out of the paper that he was cutting.

For his alphabet animal book, he cut a mole for the letter M. Of course, it wasn’t any ordinary mole because the underground house was complete with a television, sofa and all the comforts of home. The photo shows Yuki’s free-hand cutting of individual body parts. There are no guidelines.

At the age of 9, an avid baseball fan, I gave Yuki freedom to cut what he wanted. He cut out baseball diamonds, baseball players, ping pong players, complete with a moving ping pong ball. As he likes to incorporate 3D parts into his artworks, look closely, because the baseball diamond is actually a pinball game. The paper bat at the home plate is used to hit the ball that is near the pitcher’s mound.

The last photo shows Miki, Yuki’s sister, who turned 2 in the fall of 2010. One day, while Miki was visiting the class, I picked up a piece of paper, smiled, made some funny noises and tore paper. “Biribiri suru?” I asked (which means, do you want to tear?) She giggled. We made faces and noises as we tore paper, an excellent fine motor skill for little hands. “Choki choki suru?” I asked. (Do you want to cut?) Holding and guiding both of her hands with mine, she cut for the first time.

I recently visited Yuki’s home and asked Miki if she wanted to cut, she pointed to Yuki’s scissors, giggled and started to cut. Like her brother, she knows what she wants and is already confident using her hands. She knows she has trusting adults around her, full of positive encouragement. Like Yuki she knows it isn’t a matter of “can she do it?” but that those around her believe “she can and she will !