It's that time of year again, when the weather's getting colder and people are anticipating the holidays. Some folks drink pumpkin spice lattes, and some are excited to break out their tunics and boots. But Will West—who describes himself as a "a public-school teacher, father of two, husband, photographer, and printmaker"—ushers in the season by creating paper snowflakes, and posting them on his website, Flaking Out. He explains:
No, I'm not obsessed with paper snowflakes. Or, at least, I'm pretty sure I'm not obsessed with them January through October. I am, however, intrigued by the complexities that can arise from seemingly simple decisions. The simplicity of creating paper snowflakes is, for me, their greatest appeal. The only ingredients are scissors, paper, and choices.
West has been cutting snowflakes for about fifteen years, and about six years ago was cutting about a hundred snowflakes a year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year he upped that to over three hundred. He decided last year to start documenting his creations, and his website was born:
I think it's fair to say that, while I am not obsessed with making paper snowflakes, I do love making the things.
If you like to create things, cutting snowflakes is a form of near-instant gratification. I find cutting snowflakes helps me relax during a stressful stretch of the school year and, in the right hands, they make for excellent decorations. I've been telling myself for years I needed some record of the hundreds of flakes I cut each year (at least of the better ones) as an archive and teaching tool. This year, I resolved to start the site and document the snowflakes of 2021 before the year was up–even if it killed me. I'll catch up on my sleep starting New Year's Day.
On his website he also provides guidance on how to make your own snowflakes, and has a beautiful gallery of his creations, separated into categories such as asterisk, dandelion, halo, hexagon, trefoil, wheel, and my favorite, Cthuloid. He even has a gallery of profanities. I think my favorite snowflakes are found in the "pictures" gallery—the Squidflake and the Flake-topus. Go check out his site, and get inspired to cut some snowflakes of your own this year!