Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nillson

Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nilsson

These true-to-life, anatomical cross-sections are entitled the Tissue Series by artist Lisa Nilsson. She uses a technique called paper ‘quilling’ that turns MRI and CT scans into something altogether more artistic and strangely pleasing to the eye.

Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nilsson
Female thorax by Lisa Nilsson

Nilsson painstakingly quills using narrow pieces of paper that are coiled together to fill up space. Quilling has a long history and was originally used during the Renaissance period as a way to use up excess bits of paper left over from the creation of religious texts.

This modern remix of quilling by Nilsson uses Japanese mulberry, a specific type of paper with malleable qualities suitable for this kind of work. Nilsson’s interest in anatomy comes from undergoing extensive medical training.

Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nilsson
Angelico by Lisa Nilsson

Nilsson writes about the experience of creating the Tissue Series on her own site:

“These pieces are made of Japanese mulberry paper and the gilded edges of old books. They are constructed by a technique of rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper called quilling or paper filigree. Quilling was first practiced by Renaissance nuns and monks who are said to have made artistic use of the gilded edges of worn out bibles, and later by 18th century ladies who made artistic use of lots of free time. I find quilling exquisitely satisfying for rendering the densely squished and lovely internal landscape of the human body in cross section.”

To purchase art from the Tissue Series by Lisa Nilsson, visit her site.


Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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