Tag Archives: Origami

An unexpected delight: Origami in the Garden at MN Landscape Arboretum

A few weeks ago I spent an evening at the Bakken Museum as a guest artist. The theme was “art in the garden” and it was held on their rooftop patio. For a project, I suggested that I teach people to fold origami butterflies to go with the garden theme. By happy chance, Minneapolis St Paul Magazine was a sponsor of the event and sent along a case of magazines for us to recycle and make art with. It was a perfect match for my project.

I brought some of my fabrics along that feature origami and recycled paper so I could talk about how I use origami in my art.

At least three different people at the event asked me if I had seen the “giant origami” at the MN Landscape Arboretum. I hadn’t heard anything about giant origami, nobody could really tell me anything more about it, and after that night I sort of forgot about it. The Arboretum is about 45 minutes from my house and mostly off my radar. By chance, yesterday afternoon the concert band that my husband plays with had scheduled to play a concert at the Landscape Arboretum. I almost always go along to listen to his concerts and I remembered the “giant origami” conversations. I thought it might be a little something to look at while the band was warming up.

All I can say is WOW. I am so glad I got there and got to see this exhibition. It was stunning. It is called Origami in the Garden and is a collaboration between Jennifer and Kevin Box, a husband and wife artist team, and several other master origami artists. The pieces are actual folded models cast in aluminum, bronze and steel. There are more than 40 pieces throughout the gardens. It was so fun to walk around and see the glimpse of white “paper” peeking out through the leaves. Lots of things were blooming, the day was lovely, and the pieces were installed in ways that made them look like the garden was designed just to showcase each piece.

Accompanying the outdoor sculptures was an indoor display of some of the models folded and unfolded, miniature versions of some of the large sculptures, paper models and more. Which was also fascinating.

Robert Lang, one of the master artists from the show (who folded this amazing crane; see dorky selfie below) is teaching a class in a few weeks and I signed up. It seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. I am a very beginner folder, but I learn quickly and I know the basics, so I am hoping I can keep up. I am excited! I never get the chance to take classes.

If I didn’t convince you already that you need to go and see this exhibition, maybe dorky selfie number two will help you decide:

Make art with me: March 2

Thursday March 2 • 6-8 pm • free admission
Hennepin History Museum

I will be in the gallery talking about my work, answering questions and teaching YOU how to make awesome origami dresses like these from the exhibition. It is really fun to do and I have printed patterned wrapping paper so that every one can be different.

I was talking to someone recently about origami as a theme in my work. I never start out saying I am going to have something that’s origami, but it always shows up. Origami is a Japanese art form of folding paper. The designs are made without cutting or tearing the paper and almost always start off as a perfect square. When I was a kid, my dad had an origami book. It has been his since *he* was a little kid; a gift from a very favorite great uncle. Uncle Lester was a magician who specialized in paper tricks. I have written about him before. We were only allowed to look at the origami book with supervision, but my dad would sit with us for hours and help us figure out animals and flowers. There is one design from the book that I have had memorized since I was a kid. I remember folding it in elementary school from pieces of lined paper; it’s an unusual one that starts with a rectangle. My original engagement ring was an origami butterfly ring. I found the book it came from and tracked down an out-of-print copy for my husband for our 20th anniversary. I think origami was one of the first art forms I really connected with and said “I love this”. (In contrast, I hate painting. I really don’t enjoy it at all. It took a long time for me to embrace that. It’s ok to be an artist and hate painting.) So I hope you can come and learn to fold something. Maybe it will click with you too.

Adventure, 8×8 inches

adventure

Adventure

digitally printed polyester with hand beading

8×8 inches

This piece was my donation to a fundraiser held at the art center in the town where I grew up.  The event is called The Goods and it is a silent auction for 8×8 inch pieces of original art.  The twist is that all of the art is anonymous until the evening of the event.  So I had to wait until after the event to show you this piece.  I make wall pieces very rarely, but I do like this 8×8 inch format.  This was actually a test print for one of the pieces that was in my Jerome grant show this fall.  It is a photograph of a paper origami butterfly.  That is layered over a collage of text from newspaper and the pages of a “Choose your own Adventure Book” from the thrift store.  This image was digitally printed on fabric.  Then I stitched 4 wavy lines of clear sequins to represent the path that this butterfly is flying, so it shimmers from certain angles.

Video Tutorial: Origami collapsing box

In honor of Uncle Lester. This origami box was in a book that Lester gave my dad. My sister and I loved the book when we were kids and had to be very respectful and careful with it. This is the first origami project that I memorized. The thing I love about this box is that it starts with a rectangle and not a square. Which means you can make it with a piece of typing paper (or bright pink construction paper). Which is a very cool thing when you don’t have much allowance money to spend on fancy origami paper. (Leo makes a brief appearance and comment).

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