Paper Star / Craspedia Flowers by kissa design
I tried to warn you about the studio’s current obsession with paper stars but it’s good to see that you’re still reading our blog!
Some of the paper stars that we love most for their simplicity and geometric form (if it’s possible to say that about stars) are handmade by Kathleen who runs kissa design.
One question that arises – especially when having a look at the gorgeous Craspedia Flowers on top of this article – is if these small sculpture are stars? Kathleen herself calls them “Star Urchins” and explains her point of view “Star Urchins are based on the traditional Polish folk art decoration often called a porcupine ball, a style of ornament making that dates back beyond a hundred years. To me, they look like stars or sea urchins, so I call them Star Urchins, but their spiky form has been likened to seed pods and fireworks, too.”
Kathleen’s mother taught her to make porcupine balls when she was a child and her family has been in the “star business” for half a century – definitely a good tradition to pass on and make a living with! Kathleen also adds that “I have developped some of my own techniques and expanded my ability to work with pretty much all different kinds of papers to produce consistent results”.
The Star Urchins and Star Flowers can be found in Kathleen’s shop kissa design on etsy – and I might add that they’re definitely worth a look (and purchase) not only during Christmas season!
For some reason the studio has recently been obsessed with paper stars. Yes indeed – springtime is coming in Vienna but who says that paper stars are only suitable for the darker winter months and the time around Christmas? After all stars can be seen all year round (weather conditions allowing) and they’re a very basic and classical shape – so nothing can go wrong as long as you choose non-Christmasy colors for your decorations and gift wrappings.
Today we’re sharing some pictures from our good friend Helle who runs Stjernestunder and who is folding paper stars (nearly) every day of the year. Her new and elegant gift wrappings with small hand-folded paper stars in all colors and some of our paper twines are really divine.
Yvette Hawkins: new experiements with folding and drawing as well as folding and stitching
We wrote about Yvette Hawkins’ sculptures made of folded books some time ago on the blog. Yvette’s newest work is equally fascinating. Instead of books she’s now into folding huge drawings and maps into geometrical patterns.
The first works of this new series are the origami tessellated drawings (picture on top) that Yvette developped further into folded and stitched pieces. She says that this “feels more sculptural and I find the process of marking the paper after folding more interesting. These pieces are quite small and now I’ve got the hang of folding and stitching I might have a play with scale and see how it develops.” (These works somehow remind of the Japanese Shibori dyeing technique, no?)
Yvette Hawkins: A Wishful Topography, 2011; Folded Map, 55 x 110.5cm (Images by www.rosellastudios.co.uk)
“A Wishful Topography” was made especially for a charity auction. You see a bit more about the folding process on Yvette’s Paperfaerie blog. Even though parts of the map are concealed by the fold it is still easy to recognize it as a map. Probably this would be a lot different when a less colorful map was used – or even a sea-map where the geometric pattern would probably remind of waves. Yvette promised to go looking for more maps so surely there will be more fascinating pieces soon.
Yvette Hawkins: embroidered book sculpture made especially for the exhibition “All The Books I Have Never Finished” at The Gallery of Wonder, Newcastle University, UK.
The book sculpture above is the piece that made me curious about Yvette Hawkins’ work. Yvette received her BA in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2007 and ever since she has not only sold some of her smaller, more accessible and affordable book sculptures under the label Paperfaerie (with her shop here) but has also created huge art installations using hundreds of folded books. As Yvette explains herself “With Paperfaerie, I felt I wanted the work to move more towards affordable functional items for the home and workspace, whereas the installations are more about exploring spaces and peoples relationships between communication and physical spaces.”
This embroidered book sculpture shown above consists of a book cut up and sewn back together around an embroidery circle. It was created especially for an exhibition at The Gallery of Wonder (Newcastle University) in the UK. I think it’s a very impressive piece and the story behind it shows Yvette’s deep interest also in the history of book and paper arts. She explains that “Traditionally women only folded and sewed pages of books in book binding, they were not allowed to make the covers of books, known as ‘casing in’ as it was seen as shameful. These sculptures reflect the work women undertook, using only folding and sewing, an act that mirrored their role in the domestic home. (…) The pages of the book are unreadable in the same way the stitching of the pages or ‘signatures’ would be concealed by the covers that would be made by men.”
Yvette Hawkins: Globe Gallery show “No Land in Particular” June 2010
‘No Land in Particular’ was Yvette’s third big book installation that she created out of a hundreds of discarded books and with the help of volunteers that helped folding. The installation engages the viewer in the physical acts of looking and reading and it takes on yet another new form as each piece is fixed to the wall creating a large sculptural wall drawing based on the contours of maps. The play between two and three dimensions – flat pages that are formed into drums, a map that is usually two-dimensional now transformed into a three-dimensional landscape just like the real landscapes it depicts but now even crawling over walls – is especially intriguing.
YvetteHawkins: Installation “Nothing to Read Here” at the Globe Gallery in March 2010
A lot of people and not only book- and paper-lovers would feel quite guilty about taking books apart for their work (everybody here at the PaperPhine studio would feel bad in fact). But Yvette has overcome these feelings as she says in an interview “I used to feel guilty, but after a while I stopped thinking about them as these sacred vessels of knowledge and more like objects or materials for me to explore and manipulate. Whenever I run a workshop there are always initial gasps as I extract the covers, sometimes I forget to warn people beforehand. Of course there are books I can never fold and never will. All of the books I use are second hand or donated by charity shops or libraries, so it’s like giving them a new lease of life and reinvigorating them into something new.”
Yvette is definitely an artists to watch – or perhaps, if you have the space, even an artist to invite to your town for a folding workshop or for some book magic!