current obsessionspaper

current obsession: hand shadows + shadow wallpaper

by Grace Bonney


Ever since Amy and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Playing with Pictures” exhibition, I have been mildly obsessed with all things collage and Victorian. As most of my friends can attest, I am probably the least Victorian-loving girl around. The Jane Austen movies that everyone else loves tend to make me a little sleepy. But for some reason, they’re seeming more interesting these days, thanks in no small part to that amazing art exhibition and a new pack of hand shadow cards I picked up at Cog & Pearl.

These amazing cards (which are based on Victorian-era originals created as advertisements for a chocolate company) depict six different hand shadows: dog, bird, goose, rooster, bunny and turtle. I initially picked them up thinking they’d be perfect for postcards, but their shape might make that a little difficult (unless tucked inside a larger envelope). I’ve decided to either string them together as a banner near my desk or turn them into non-traditional place cards for the upcoming entertaining column we’re working on for D*S. Either way, they’ve inspired me to look around for other forms of beautiful hand-shadow imagery and I thought I’d share my favorites here, old and new. xo, grace

Want to learn more about hand shadows? Check out a fun how-to book right here and a book about the history of “shadowgraphy” right here.


Image above: ‘Hand Made’ wallpaper by Paper Boy. How have I never seen this? I need it in my life. Now.


Image above: Hand shadow wall decals by Domestic.


Image above: Hand shadow card by Honeylux at Etsy.


Image above: A fun hand shadow photograph by Russ and Reyn.


Image above: Antique hand shadow posters at photo history’s Flickr page.

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