Monty Peden presenting ‘Scissor Snips’

 Monty Peden will be teaching ’Scissor Snips’ through the Marshall County Council on Aging at the Life Enrichment Center Tuesday, September 11 and Tuesday, October 9 at 10 a.m.
By: 
Jamie Stoner
Staff Writer

Peden taught French and Mathematics in the Plymouth Community School Corporation at Lincoln Junior High and the High School for 34 years before he returned. Peden currently serves as President of the Argos Community School Corporation School Board. Peden is also an active member of the Lions Club.

With no formal training, Peden developed a folding technique for a six-sided snowflake. To provide a fun but educational opportunity for his students he had his class create snowflakes and displayed their art at the school.

A visitor by the name of Walter Jurkiewicz noticed the unique pattern of Peden’s six-sided snowflake and inquired of him where he obtained the pattern. Peden informed Jurkiewicz that he had designed it himself and Jurkiewicz told him that he would be returning with a gift.

The gift was a metal template designed by Jurkiewicz to assist in the folding of a paper to create a six-sided snowflake. Though the men had never previously met, they both had the same vision.

Jurkiewicz was a master in the art of ‘Wycinanki’ which is the polish name for paper cutting or ‘Old World Folk Paper Art’. Wycinanki is also referred to as ‘Flake-O-Fage’.

Peden shared, “I still have the template that Walter gave me.” Peden has since had several templates produced after that same pattern in a strong plastic material. Peden offers these templates to some of his ‘Scissor Snips’ students.

When asked if it is true that no two snowflakes are exactly the same Peden affirmed, “It is one of those ‘God things’. I cannot wrap my mind around trillions of snowflakes yet no two are alike.” Peden also confirmed, “The vast majority of natural snowflakes are six-sided. Over 90% of snowflakes observed under a microscope are a hexagon.”

Peden had the opportunity to observe the phenomenon firsthand. He explained, “I went to ‘The Snowflake Bentley Exhibit’ at the Old Red Mill in Jericho, Vermont.” Peden marveled, ”On display were actual photographs of snowflakes.” Wilson A. Bentley was known as ‘The Snowflake Man’. He developed a type of camera attached to a microscope and was able to capture the image of ‘snow crystals’ more commonly referred to as snowflakes.

Bentley observed snowflakes under microscopes and of his observations said, “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."

Though Peden’s scissor designed art forms began with snowflakes he has expanded his technique to include a wide variety of animals, logos, and designs. Peden’s designs include hummingbirds, penguins, reindeer, pumpkins, Star Wars characters, and names. Recently Peden executed a triple layer ‘Nativity’ in three colors.

Peden shared, “I use surgical scissors for intricate details. When I am teaching school aged students this technique we use age appropriate scissors. For adults I like to offer the use of surgical scissors. I will have all the supplies available to use at the class.”

Peden teaches beginners the art using thin paper making it easier to cut through the folded layers. Though the paper is fragile and must be handled with care, Peden uses a toothpick and glue stick to mount the design on paper for display.

Peden is eager to share his talent with those who attend his classes at the Life Enrichment Center. Peden has been perfecting his Wycinanki skills for almost 40 years. Peden extended an open invitation to anyone interested in learning the art, “It just takes a little patience, time and creativity.”

Though the class is free registration is required. Those interested in registering for either of the ’Scissor Snips’ classes can register by contacting the Marshall County Council on Aging Life Enrichment Center located at 1305 West Harrison Street, Plymouth. The phone number is 574-936-9904. More information can also be found online at www.marshallcountycouncilonaging.org.