Edit: I’ve got a similar, smaller piece on display at Craft House Concept, Edinburgh until 17th July.
Also I’m running a workshop making Christmas decorations from folded recycled papers on Saturday 10th December in Leicester. Full workshop programme here
About nine months ago, Jennifer Collier said that she wanted to do a first anniversary exhibition at unit twelve of work just in paper (as per the first marriage anniversary gift tradition). I immediately piped up that I had just started working in folded paper and offered to create something for the show.
When I started working in paper, I wanted to use not just pretty recycled paper, but something with real significance to me, something personal.
This piece, Sewn Up, is made from 665 folded squares cut from the proof pages of my book Sew It Up, which was originally called Sewn Up (and that is what these pages say in the corner). This book was so significant to me in so many ways, and is now enjoyed all over world (wow) and I wanted to create something new from it. So after months of labour creating the book, I have re-assembled bits of it into something new.
Although I only started it about a month ago, it has actually been part of a long process of developing my ideas and techniques working in paper, starting way back in 2007 when I first started playing around and developed considerably last summer with these samples. Things take a long time to fruition when I am busy with other stuff.
As with all my work, it is very tactile and almost fabric-like. It is 70cmx130cm, so apart from the quilt I did last year, it is the biggest piece I have ever made. The centre folds are flexible, so can be folded in or opened out, as in the bottom left of the photo below. Hours of interactive fun!
What I have done in paper is very much derived from my previous work in fabric, exploring folding. I love crisp folds and tessellation, which is actually a bit of a faff in fabric and much easier in paper!
Taken from the inside. I have a long-standing fascination with light, shadow and holes in things, so this works on all those levels.
Another sample on the way to creating this piece – made as a Christmas present for my brother.
Since then I’ve done quite a bit of teaching of paper folding & tessellation with school groups including a project with a primary school which I started last week. Really good fun!
I must also credit the lovely Phiona Richards of Rare Notions for inspiration after I attended her Kusudama origami workshop. I’ve got thoroughly into making my own variations of traditional techniques and one of these days will go back to working in fabric with the ideas I’ve developed in paper. Phiona is also exhibiting a piece at Unit Twelve in the same exhibition.
The crumbly wall I’ve photographed it on looks like something fancy from a proper styled photo shoot, but is merely my undecorated front room. Normally this wall makes me miserable but it really worked for this piece. Sadly there is a big blob of new plaster right in the middle of it which rather spoils the effect, so it will be papered over soon. Though it does make me wonder if in a few years time, photos of crumbly plaster and paintwork will seem terribly out of date. It is just a fashion. But it is one that will last forever in my house I think!