When things come into my sphere in threes (3x), I pay attention.
This week it’s Origami. But this is paper-folding on a ho’ nutha level…
Leaving the MoMA I pass a vendor with a humble card table filled with complicated, folded newspaper dragons like nothing I’ve ever seen. Here she sits in the dark, in the cold, on the noisy street— this patient woman is folding exquisite paper toys. I’m kicking myself now. Why didn’t I buy one?
The next day, while waiting for a table at a busy restaurant in NYC, I start up a conversation with a guy at the bar. Turns out he is an insanely talented artist named Max Steiner. He starts pulling out his wares, having just come from his trunk show, and I’m surprised to see it all fits in his front pocket. Lo and behold, it’s micro-origami cast in sterling silver. This is mini-miniature jewelry with teeny tiny laser cut wooden holders from which to hang the little beauties.
The pattern engraved in the stand is the crease pattern for creating the origami shapes. Stunning, fascinating mandalas of repetition. He also shows me a couple of dollar bills that he has folded accordian-styley into the size of postage stamps. “Just don’t pull on it” he cautions as he hands one over. They take him about two weeks to create.
Then last night I turn on the TV and catch the most interesting documentary: “Between the Folds” on Independent Lens. This film is a very well researched story about artists and scientists who are fascinated with the dynamics of paper. Many of them have given up lucrative jobs to follow lives of paper-folding. That’s called Following your Bliss, fo sho.
I was particularly taken with the FLOWER TOWERS and tesselations of Chris K. Palmer. His work with geometric patterns references islamic tiling, and mandala-like shapes with 3-dimensional spinning movement.
Here is a clip of him folding a 12-fold Flower Tower. (Some background music would be nice, but then you would miss out on all that paper crinkling sound…)
Here is another clip from the show about a serious genius who gets to fold paper for MIT. “Between the Folds” is currently running on PBS, so hopefully you can find it in your area. Green Fuse Films has put together an excellent website with resources galore, origami websites and links to the artists.
If you’re looking for something to do while you’re hanging out for the holidays; FOLD SOME PAPER!