Before I began folding some larger samples I decided to fold a few small papers to discuss and explore in my sketchbook. I had some old pages from an exercise I had completed using cut silhouettes. I couldn’t help making my mark on the sample so added some dark lines to define the folds.
As I’m doing this course I am trying (mostly in vain) to do more drawings so I drew the top sample with some success. I’m still find it hard to draw an accurate depiction and not start doing more meandering doodle lines.
Looking at the drawing I was satisfied that simple folds in an interesting paper gave me far more areas of interest and inspiration than using either a flat picture or a folded piece of plain paper (though I could see the value of doing this and using strong lights and shadows to create shapes and motifs) so I moved onto making a larger sample using a page I had altered, by painting with gesso and acrylic inks to make the first pleated sample.
I made the pleats and sat back and looked at it, to me it looked too flat so I did some rubbing down and added some spray acrylic.
I returned to the altered book to find another page but I wasn’t inspired by anything, humph! I looked for a while at the other photographs taken to record and advertise the people and places in Kyoto in Japan. After visiting Japan as a child I’ve always had an interest in their art and culture. A beautifully coloured photograph of ladies dancing in a line horizontally across a stage caught my eye and I wondered if I could make vertical folds to highlight the 3 ladies, drawing attention and focus where I wanted it.
I wrote down my thoughts and attempted to capture my feelings as they floated around.
” the folds give pleasing shadows and reflections. It would be interesting to link the folding, highlighting action with the image. Could this this to how humans like to display only part of themselves. How we all keep some parts of ourselves hidden. And how this changes depending on the situation we find ourselves in.
” Shown – hidden – shown – hidden.
” then some elements (the edges) that can be seen from one side and not the other. Only visible when you look at the folds from a different angle”
In the book I found a full head photograph of a Japanese lady in full traditional dress titled, Flower-serving ceremony dedicated to Yoshino-Tabu, a famous, Edo Period courtesan. Courtesan? Geisha? It felt appropriate to use an image of something that for years has been shrouded in mystery, that is all about presenting an image, living a role that is all consuming.
Before I folded I noted in my sketchbook –
“I’m going to try to fold it to give a sense of mystery and duplicity to the scene. Do I hide the eyes? Is that the key? Hide/disguise some of the symbolism on the outfit? Does this take the folds from mechanisms of attraction to transporters of message?”
As I made the folds and continued to manipulate the piece trying to hide elements I became fascinated will how the expression of the lady altered, how I could totally change her face so the balances moved and attractiveness became kooky, became less attractive, smaller, larger, more open, slightly angry and on and on.
I could see a series of these using different faces, it would be a good vehicle to translate a specific theme, like exploring anger or shyness. On Pinterest I found the work of Aldo Tolino, he has done some amazing folded portraits. He is the master of abstract paper folding and well worth viewing.