The Perfect Mother's Day Gift: Custom-Crafted Silhouettes

Local artist Kerry Cook shares the classic art of silhouettes
Ali Brownrigg  |   May 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
mother's day gift ideas silhouettes in seattle magazine

Distinctive, striking—and, ahem, a perfect Mother’s Day gift—custom-crafted silhouettes are like snapshots from another era. While the heyday of the silhouette may have come and gone, it remains a popular way to capture a child at a certain age, thanks in part to practitioners such as Bellevue’s Kerry Cook (, who honed her craft under the tutelage of acclaimed 1970s–’80s Lummi Island silhouette artist Flo Konecke. Cook has been hand-cutting her intricate and nuanced paper portraits since 1974, and says that unlike most silhouette makers at festivals and theme parks (who rely on generic cutting formulas), she actually “draws with scissors,” using a singular hand-cut line to render each subject’s distinctive forehead, nose and chin (see sample image, above). “Silhouettes have always been about essence, about capturing a person’s individual spirit,” she says. “This is part of what gives silhouettes their magic.” In addition to individual sessions in private homes, Cook sets up her mobile studio at schools, parties and shops to ply her skilled scissors in the name of this heirloom art form. This month, find her at Small Threads for Kids in Issaquah (5/7. 1480 NW Gilman Blvd.; 425.427.5430; and Top Ten Toys in Greenwood (5/10. 124 N 85th St.; 206.782.0098; Single portrait, $25.