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Gallery Oldham Residency


Next month, I’ll be completing a residency at Gallery Oldham and creating work in response to one of their upcoming exhibitions ‘Art Forms in Nature’ which opens in mid-October.   The exhibition, touring from the Hayward Gallery, features work by Karl Blossfeldt and I am using his images as inspiration for an installation of weird and wonderful plants made out of paper.

For the second part of the residency, I will be offering drop-in workshops to add to the installation – making oversize blooms out of paper, using lots of different techniques such as origami, paper cutting and folding.

The event and workshops, called Nightshade, are also part of the Manchester Science Festival – there’s lots of different things to see and do during the ten day event – have a look at the programme here.

I’ve been doing some test pieces for the installation, concentrating on creating poisonous, carnivorous and parasitic plant forms.


Animating Lordship Lane

I’ve just finished a commission for arts event ‘Animating Lordship Lane’ in East Dulwich, London organised by Fantasy High Street.  ‘Mille Fleurs’ was a curtain of suspended paper flowers, for the window of a fragrance shop called Roullier White, which moved and rotated in the breeze to create interest and animation in the window.  I also ran a paper flower making workshop during the event, whereby we made tissue paper flowers, origami flowers and origami butterflies.

Most of the flowers for the ‘Mille Fleurs’ commission were created from thick watercolour paper, stamped and laser cut into various shapes and then hand rolled to create the curve of petals.  Other flowers were created from floristry crepe paper (a much thicker crepe paper than normal) which allows for a lot of stretch and shaping to create delicate petals and flowers.

Thanks to Miriam from Roullier White for the fantastic photos!

Paper Art II

Paper Art 02

I’m in a book!  My origami installation work has been featured in Paper Art II (find it here), a book  showcasing international artwork, installations and designs created from paper.

I’m fairly pleased as the last book I was in was my dissertation (which I wasn’t technically in – I just had my name on the spine!).

The book features ‘Together We Are Greater‘ and ‘The Space Between Revisited‘.  ‘Shoals of Prosperity‘ just missed out on the publishing date – maybe next time…


Shoals of Prosperity installation in Beijing

Origami Fish Indigo Beijing 2The installation of suspended origami I created for Pacific Place in Hong Kong has gone to a new home.  The six-metre long fish made of 5000 small origami fish is going to be displayed permanently in a development in Beijing called Indigo.

Owned by Swire Properties, the same company that owns Pacific Place, Indigo is a similar mall to the one in Hong Kong, featuring shops, restaurants and leisure outlets alongside hotels, apartments and a large park.

I was a bit nervous about it being installed without me there to manage but they have done a magnificent job and it all looks as it should.  Guess the hanging instructions must have made sense!

Making the origami fish

Making the origami fish

Origami Fish Indigo Beijing

Origami fish - detail

Origami fish – detail

I’m back… again!

Origami fish - detail

I’ve just arrived back from installing an origami piece in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. Hot on the tails of completing my London commission, I was asked to create an origami installation for Pacific Place, an upmarket shopping mall on Hong Kong island which houses the likes of Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co and Burberry.

The finished installation. The peach trees below the fish will eventually burst into flower.

The finished installation.
The peach trees below the fish will eventually burst into flower.

As the title of the installation was ‘Shoals of Prosperity’, it seemed ideal to create a large 3D fish made from thousands of small origami fish – 4876 in total.  The deadline was incredibly tight, so I waved goodbye to Christmas and set about folding and folding and folding (with the help of some willing assistants – thank you Amy, Kate and Martin!).

Making the origami fish

Making the origami fish

The tricky part of the commission was to create a realistic fish shape from lots of origami hanging from fishing wire.  And the fact that, due to its size, I wouldn’t be able to see the completed piece until it was installed in situ.  The overall size of the fish was six metres in length by three metres wide by four metres in height and was all hung from lines of fishing wire hung from acrylic rods.

Its finished!

Its finished!

Origami Fish - detail

Me pretending to be a film star with my entourage

Me pretending to be a film star with my entourage

Once installed I spent three days doing lots of media interviews for newspapers, magazines and TV – more on this later.  I can now say Happy Chinese New Year in both Mandarin and Cantonese!

Me pointing out Pacific Place from 'The Peak'

Pointing out Pacific Place from ‘The Peak’

The six metre Fantail fish made from almost 5000 origami fish
The six metre Fantail fish made from almost 5000 origami fish

Quite the Culture Vulture

Fellow Woodend Artist member and artist Pat Baker invited me to the theatre this week.  We trotted off to see ‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.  Starring (predictably) just two actors, Justin Moorhouse and Victoria Elliot, the play is set in a pub whereby they play  the landlord and landlady and then a variety of characters / couples that come into the pub.  Justin Moorhouse is well known for his role in Phoenix Nights (the guy that spends the whole second series with his face painted as a tiger) amongst many other roles and comedy parts.

I really enjoyed it (for all that I don’t often go to see ‘normal’ acting plays) but was very glad I wasn’t sat on the stage level seating where Moth the smooth ladeez man attempted to try it on with almost every single person.  Very funny for the rest of us, though…

The stage design was very simple except for the chandelier that was created from a few hundred suspended pint glasses and tankards.  Looked great with the lighting and multiple piece suspended artwork is a format that always hits the spot with me.  I can’t find a picture of it but the designer was Amanda Stoodley.  Instead of an image of her work, here’s an image / detail of my suspended artwork…(dodgy connection, I know)

Together We Are Greater - suspended origami artwork by Jacqui Symons