This is the kirigami mandala I created for my sister's 50th birthday. It depicts her family and symbols pertaining to her life. Here's what I wrote to her:
An explanation of the symbolism in this papercutting:
This cutting is round because love is eternal.
Adorning the outer edge are symbols of nature.
The bright sun of your adopted home, Colorado, alternates
with the fish and seaweed of your earlier, Rhode Island home.
Elk hold up the fishbowl, which also looks like a good-luck symbol.
New shoots of green life germinate within their bodies
as you also have always tried to live to the fullest.
In the center is the A..... family.
Mom and Dad have found the fountain of youth and have
grown hair! That is worthy of a fist-bump. They stand on a
foundation of Love (the heart) which has in its bow fifty circles
for E’s fifty years. At the bottom of her skirt is a
small heart: the love of her sister.
Happy Birthday E!