I discovered the work of German artist and animator Lotte Reiniger while reading the Guardian newspaper this morning. She worked using paper cutouts with stop motion animation. In 1926, she created the first full length animated feature film "Prince Achmed", which was based on the Arabian Nights stories. I love the intricacy of her paper cutting in the scene from the film above.
After fleeing Nazi Germany, she settled in London where she continued to make films, including public service announcements like "Mary's Birthday" which promotes basic hygiene -
This film uses lots of colour, but I think I like the simplicity of her black silouettes the best. This video is 10 minutes long, but worth a look - my favorite bits happen about 6 minutes in when Mary thwarts the evil bluebottle flies and sends her auntie packing from her birthday party because she sneezes into a hanky! Hygiene is all well and good, but I think Mary may have been taking things a bit far...
I am so glad I discovered this work - which combines my love of children's stories and papercutting - and plan to watch more of her films. Many have been uploaded to You Tube, and can also be purchased from Amazon or the British Film Institute.