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Oxford man masters snowflake art

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Oxford man masters snowflake art
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It's something you don't see every day, but it's certainly perfect for the holiday season. Our Elyse Mickalonis introduces us to one Oxford man who has perfected the art of cutting paper snowflakes to the point where they've taken on a new form.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- "Why I started? It just happened. It’s a quirk,” said James Baldwin, an Oxford resident. “And I found I had a talent for seeing things different I guess."

Oxford resident James Baldwin has a special skill set when it comes to snipping snowflake art. It’s a talent he discovered by accident while helping someone decorate for Christmas.

"I was decorating her windows,” said Baldwin. “And I just asked her what her fondest memories of Christmas were and as she was telling me I was cutting here, cutting there and boom there it was. That day it was like magic I didn’t know I could do it."

Baldwin uses a pair of scissors and his hands to turn a folded piece of onion skin paper into what he calls story-flakes. He’s been creating them since the mid-1970s.

"I can see what I want to cut in my head and I don’t see the spots on the giraffe I see the outline of the giraffe and I pick a point to start from,” said Baldwin.

But Baldwin’s talent doesn’t stop there. He can tear shapes into paper to create regular snowflakes, and he can even do it behind his back.

"I love it, because there’s very few people that do it to this extent. It entertains people. It makes me feel good,” said Baldwin.

Baldwin showcases his talent by traveling to different events, but will only cut shapes that will take less than two minutes, so the audience doesn’t get bored.

"If I see it in my head, that it’s going to be something that’s going to take a little bit longer,” said Baldwin. “Who is going to want to sit and watch me cut paper for ten minutes?"

Baldwin says creating story-flakes isn’t about the money, it’s something that truly brings him joy.

"In the past I have sold some, but there's no magic in selling it,” said Baldwin. “I'm thrilled people want to buy it, but I'm more thrilled when people say, 'Can you come do a demonstration?' That's where it's fun."

A gift that’s gone further than he could have ever imagined.

"They’re in seven different countries, I didn’t send them there,” said Baldwin. “People would get them from me and send them overseas."

The last story-flake that was abroad was an angel. It went to Israel. Baldwin says that’s his favorite design to cut, for now.

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