Pleating and Folding

During March and April I was working in Beijing for a month. One of my many challenges was how to make sculpture that was, cheap, transportable, reflected my experience of China and achievable. I had to re-think my methodologies completely and during ‘Burn Paper for Ancestors’ I considered paper structures printed with images of my ancestors. I considered displaying then burning them as part of an exhibition. I rediscovered my childhood interest in paper folding to create tessellated shapes digitally printed with domestic images I had taken in Beijing Hutongs and pictures of my deceased family.  Although these proposed works look completely different to my existing work, thematically they shared the same interests as previous works. They also fitted all my criteria for working in a foreign country and have opened up an exciting new body of work.

These are the first folds I started to work with and I could begin to see their potential as sculpture.


My next concern was the images. What would they be and how would I splice them alternatively?

I decided on using an image from the Hutongs that I had taken a few days previously. As I was not privy to the interiors of these unique Chinese homes  I became interested in the domestic items they publicly hung out in the street. From rugs to rubber gloves these small parts of day to day life gave me an insight into the environment the locals live in.

I also asked my mother to send a photos of some of our dead ancestors, namely my father and grandparents. I decided on this photo of my father in a climbing hut in the 50’s.

With the help of Hedley Roberts, via Skype we were able to splice the images using Photohop in the pattern of the folds.

Once folded this creates the final piece.

I have since made some very large pieces for the Professional Doctorate show in June 2010.

In the last week I have found some very interesting material I wanted to experiment with. It is Transyvanian sacking cloth and each village in the area has a different weave so that sacks of grain can be easily identifyable when they go to market. The profits from sale of the cloth go back to the villages to continue the craft. Besides this the material has great appeal to me. I responded to it’s texture and properties immediately and wanted to make something from it. The following images are the beginning of playing with it and seeing what it will do.

I stitched the back of the piece to secure the desired shape as being a concertina it likes to move around and change a lot.

The final shape.

It is extremely laborious to do this by hand with an iron, even though I have made this fold quite a few times now it is easy to get ‘lost’ and go completely wrong. It is for this reason I am off to Ciment Pleaters in Potters Bar to discuss having the pleating done mechanically.

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One Response to Pleating and Folding

  1. Scott Tucker says:

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

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