Welcome to Silhouettes By Hand, the primary offering from Snake Oil Productions* - and from creative specialist, Lauren Muney.
Your Artist's Mission
to continue the beautiful legacy of silhouette portraits, a rare historical trade
to offer an elegant reminder of any special event or festivity
to offer a living experience of our history
to break events out of old ideas and offerings by offering a respectful participatory experience
Your Artist's Statement
“My name is Lauren Muney. I cut silhouettes freehand with scissors, in the traditional portrait style made especially popular 1760-1860's, and extending into the 21st century as well. This historical style of portraiture was very popular before photography was invented.
My only tools are special paper and scissors - I look at my sitter and cut the profile into the paper. I do not draw these portraits before cutting: the scissors do the “drawing”, committing the cuts immediately without possibility of erasure.
No shadows. No software. No cameras. Nothing but the eye, paper, and scissors. People who watch me cut these portraits often remark how much fun it is just to watch.
Silhouettes are capturing a moment. As every person is three-dimensional, silhouettes cannot ever capture the wholeness of a human. Silhouette portraits are simply a connection of us - to our past. We create a likeness, since we cannot fully capture our complex beauties and selves.
Parents are excited and adoring of these silhouettes portraits. They often have silhouettes done by mail-order or at another of my scheduled public events. All types of people love having their portraits made, whether at private corporate or gala events, or my favorite: museum events.
As the owner of several businesses, I endeavor to treat all my clients and customers professionally and responsibly in our collaboration together."
Your Artist's Background
Lauren Muney has been a professional artist, entertainer, special-event producer, and consultant for over 30 years. Alongside her graphic illustration degree from a leading arts college, her experience with live events of all types ranges across the United States, Canada, and in Asia and Europe. (See a few images from her past here)
You'll love her vast experience based on her past --and unique offering of interactive presentation at your event.
Lauren began her interest in cutting silhouettes after studying the entertainments of historical time periods. She fell in love with silhouettes, the art of silhouette cutting, and its place in history. She is self-taught in the freehand-scissoring silhouette skill, based on descriptions from silhouette masters from previous centuries. She has been cutting silhouettes professionally since 2009.
“Artisanal Selfie” on Instagram
She uses the name “Artisanal Selfie” on Instagram to reflect how silhouettes can cross generations - from the past to our modern society.
Have Scissors - Will Travel
She is currently located in the Baltimore, Maryland / Washington DC region of the United States, yet she travels to other states, regions, and countries. She works in public and private events across the USA, Canada, in Europe, and Australia. “Have scissors, will travel”. Read more on the Booking page.
Recent Exciting Highlights
In March 2019, Silhouettes By Hand returned to Lost Trades Fair (Australia) to demonstrate the historic, "lost" trade of silhouette portraiture at its main largest Fair in Kyneton, Victoria.
In May 2018, Lauren cut silhouettes live at the opening of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s opening of the groundbreaking “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” exhibit.
In March, 2018, Lauren and her silhouette portraiture were filmed by Better Homes and Gardens TV Australia, the #1 rated program in Australia. The program was broadcast nationwide in Australia in Sept 2018, with Lauren and Silhouettes By Hand as a featured segment on the program.
In March 2018, Lost Trades Fair (Australia) invited Silhouettes By Hand to demonstrate the historic, "lost" trade of silhouette portraiture at its main event in Victoria, the second most visitor attended event in all the entire state.
In March 2016 the international Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums asked Lauren to redesign the image on their logo, using traditional silhouettes to represent its membership.
In Feb 2016 Lauren was profiled in Early American Life magazine. Read the article here
In 2013 Lauren was interviewed by National Public Radio about her silhouettes.
In 2014 Lauren was interviewed for an international documentary film on silhouettes by UK-based, world-renown silhouette master, Charles Burns. "Silhouette Secrets" was released in 2015, winning documentary film awards in 2015-2017 across the globe. The success of "Silhouette Secrets" shows the power and fascination of the intimate art of silhouette portraiture. As of 2018, the documentary is available on Amazon Prime.
In 2014 Silhouettes By Hand was nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made
Participation in the industry group Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM):
In 2014 Lauren was selected as co-chair for the "Programming, Interpretation, and Education" professional group of ALHFAM
In 2018, Lauren was elected as a Board Member of ALHFAM, serving committees to help interactive museums around the world. She currently is co-chair of the “Skills Training and Preservation” committee, helping living history museums teach skills of the past and develop succession planning to the next generations.
In 2018, she also started managing ALHFAM’s Instagram social media.
* "Snake Oil Productions" by Lauren Muney is not affiliated with the video production company of a similar name.