More work from the same client – the finished artwork
and the original design
More work from the same client – the finished artwork
and the original design
I recently did a commission for M2 Printing Services, creating a variety of subjects. Here are the final artworks.
I was approached recently about a commission to produce 50 origami fish, about 12″ high, folded using paper branded with the logo of the client, Verve Clicquot. The design was by John Montroll, so I contacted him and arranged a suitable percentage for use of his work.
Then came the slight “tweaks” to the contract – the fish were to be hung from a wire outside the clients building, in Spain, and must be capable of resisting the worst that Spanish weather could throw at it, for a whole year, without fading. I was floundering somewhat and couldn’t believe what I was herring!
Good Cod, I thought, I need to mullet over, but had to get my skates on. Eventually, I found the sole offset printers her in Sheffield who could print the pattern onto UPVC “paper” and trim to a suitably sized square. This material turned out to be remarkably appropriate, water and weatherproof, with an ultra-voilet coating to prevent fading as much as was possible.
I was turbot-charged and the folding was halibut over when the physical pressure needed to add a crease to plastic soon took its toll with some pulled tendons (Pollocks!) in my wrist slowing progress down somewhat as I wrassled with it. I’d haddock enough by the end, but didn’t carp about it.
I had to mako a dozen or so models to refine my folding sequence. The creases themselves were fairly crisp, and perhaps surprisingly, could be reversed without difficulty. However, there was still a tendency to try and unfold. In the end, I layered them in a pile of 12″ albums (carefully chosen 80’s pop & classical) for a few days to carp them flat. It did help, although in the end I added a surreptitious staple.
I’d considered ironing them between layers of fabric, but in the end didn’t try it. The was breaming smile on my face, they looked brill and I was a dab hand at it.
Oh yes, I’m still waiting to be paid – these aren’t the terms I usually goby…
Have belatedly discovered another VC origami connection.
As a professional paper-folder, I sometimes get to fold where no man (or woman) has folded before. In late October, this turned out to be Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire! I had been approached during summer to provide eleven large flying swans, to tie in with exhibits based on stories by Hans Christian Anderson. These were to be part of the decoration of several state rooms in the house during Christmas.
A quick trawl of both the web and my book collection revealed that there were no existing origami swans “in flight”. I called my origami mentor Wayne Brown and we spent a happy few hours trying to capture the elegant profile required. Fairly quickly we decided an isosceles triangle was the most efficient format and Wayne came up with a superb solution, which I then simplified!
The next problem was the paper. Even though the design was highly efficient, a large sheet was required to produce the desired wingspan of two and a half feet. The wings were essentially a single layer of paper, so wet-folding was required to give them some shape and rigidity. My preferred paper for this has long been Canson Mi-Teintes, but the largest sheet I could get hold of was far too small, so I arranged from some to be imported from France (the home of Canson) and delivered direct.
These measured around three foot by four foot. Even with paper this large, I still had to cut out to triangles from each sheet and join them to form an even larger triangle. Masking tape did this job and was hidden inside the finished fold.
Wayne and I made a variety of sizes, intending to enhance the illusion of perspective as the swans flew away. We custom-made some small hooks using paper clips and taped these inside the body to provide two mounting points. Some very fine fishing wire would provide the means of suspension – Chatsworth had promised three rods spanning the area we were to fill. I recruited Darren Rodgers for the installation, being tall and with no fear of heights, he was invaluable! We were passed though security and led along darkened stone corridors, (designed so the servants and masters never met) until a secret door led out to the magnificent state dining room.
We were to hang our swans by the entrance to the room, between two marble columns and shelves of book over 400 years old. A ladder was provided and thankfully it was a tall one, since the rods were over 20 feet in the air! The lack of good lighting, hair-width line and failing eyesight caused immense problems – we literally couldn’t see the wire to tie knots with! Other problems soon became apparent – the more swans we put in place, the more difficult it was to add news ones, since the ladder kept catching wires and causing “dying swans” to cascade to the floor.
In the end, it took us nearly 4 hours to hang eleven swans. We then decided too many wings were a-drooping, so added some “garden wire” support to the wings, allowing us to provide some uplift. The job was completed with visitors passing by making complimentary comments. With hindsight we’d have done the whole thing differently, but it was certainly eye-catching.
I have a fascinating weekends work lined up, down in London at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. My mission is to help members of the public build enough paper boats to do a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar!
I’ll be making the larger “flag ships” and teaching people to make smaller ones, using the trad “rectangular boat with sail”. It will be happening both days, starting at 12 and again at 3pm. I hope to see some folders there!?
I had an email recently from a PR company (Bonfire – read their own write-up) with whom I worked in 2009, reminding me of the fun we had. The project was to fold 650 odd elephants and encase 100 of them in a block of acrylic. They had been at work on the project with another paper-folder for about a year, but decided they wanted fresh input and approached me.
The design they were using had no clearance from the Japanese creator, so I came up with an original model for them. Perhaps a little contrived (ie. not something I might have created for my own pleasure) but effective enough. This was printed onto paper so that the logo and various mottos were visible in the right places. It was important we got this right, since they were printing onto special paper that would withstand the heat of being encased in acrylic.
Eventually we decided everything was correct and the paper was shipped out to various folding colleagues around the country, who had offered to contribute a certain quantity. We agreed a price per unit with the client in advance. Without this, I would probably have refused the work – I find bulk folding soul-destroying, even for money 😉
I took a photo of my portion of the job (below) before carefully packing them into a trunk (geddit?) and sending off. The client was delighted and asked for a video of the folding sequence, for which I also wrote a piece of original music.The encased ele arrived, beautifully packaged and quite a conversation piece (which of course, was the idea!).
This particular model had slightly splayed legs, and wasn’t one that I’d folded (when you’ve folded 200 odd, you get to recognise your own work) maybe some slight padding inside might have helped, but this wasn’t something we could have anticipated and it’s an issue only an experienced folder would notice. I don’t know if this is the first acrylic origami, but it’s certainly something I’d like to try again at some point.
In the UK, a traditional second wedding anniversary gift is made of paper. Curiously enough, it ‘s a first anniversary in America. So, from time to time, I receive requests for origami from romantic relatively-newly-weds.
One such came recently – the husband sent me photos from their wedding and wanted paper versions creating. Purity wasn’t an issue, so I tried to combine elegant folding with a multi-piece approach, using different coloured papers to match the couple’s wedding garb. Much of it could have been folded from fewer sheets, but would have made for thick figures, which wouldn’t have looked as elegant.
The client requested them to be delivered firmly sandwiched between thick cardboard, for him to place in a suitable frame. We were both pleased with the results. Ideally, I would have gone for a slightly bustier dress (down boy!) but since it was to be framed, decided against.
I’m sure many of you have seen the UK Whiskas cat food advertising campaign last year, which featured some elegant origami made from Whiskas wrappers. Sadly, I’ve not been able to indentify the origami artist.
I had a call from an agency wanting 50 cows for an event, citing the crittur below right as what they wanted. When I explained that it was probably made from 3 or 4 separate pieces, they were very surprised and asked “can you make it from a single sheet?” I said that it wouldn’t look nearly as clean or elegant, or be as cheap!
This set me thinking (gasp); how many times do we see genuine origami used in adverts (answer : rarely) and why should this be? It seems that what the agencies, and therefore the public, look for in origami is an elegant, simplified form, but one that closely resembles the real life original. It’s ironic that the public have no interest in notions of single-square purity or original techniques yet those are the very things most creators strive for!
I’ve just been referred to an article on the Independent newspaper website about origami, where I’m quoted at the foot of the page. Thing is, I never said nuffing 😉
Ah well, I agree with it 😉