Art · MMT - Ex 4 - Incremental & Twisted Pleats · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt1 - Folding and Crumpling · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Surface Distortion – Ex 4 – Incremental & Twisted Pleats – Teeth

Teeth! This image was just too good to not fold, just what could I do with this! 

I made lots of folds and once the folds were rough and thin I sprayed the back of the image with some blue acrylic paint so it soaked through the folds to the front.


I then has some fun twisting and turning the image. Making the teeth move as if the mouth was opening and closing.


And then getting up close so the gums were closer and looking swollen and slightly slimy. 


Then far away so the fingers look huge and almost in your face whilst the teeth are receding into the background. Are the racks of teeth plastic or real?


I wanted to manipulate the image more, making it more abstract whilst still keeping some hint of the teeth.


Finally at this stage I just made them look creepy, with just a touch of alien about them.


After I’d taken the photographs of the folded paper, using different angles and lighting to alter the image further on from the folding I used some iPhone editing apps to throw some different colour and texture into the mixture.

One of my MMT challenges is to learn how to better explain my reasons for liking and disliking an image. This is what I wrote in my sketchbook about folded photograph of false teeth.

“What appeals to me?

“The macabreness and strangeness of the teeth, it’s a normalising and mechanising of the essential naturalness of teeth. To take something that is so unique (dental records are after all used as a maker for identification) and to record and categorise so many of the individual pieces is such a human process. The simple hospital blue colour palette allows the pinkness of the gums to stand out and highlight the teeth”

Staying with the creepy feel I applied an invert filter to give the effect of an x-ray, the cooling of the colours actually made the teeth less unpleasant to look at.


Using green as the dominant colour then warmed the image and made it easier to identify the lines that make up the image. Highlighting these lines creates a grid of interesting shapes .


This final image is my favourite, I like the composition: the way the thumb nail acts as a focal point drawing the eye and then allowing it to run down the 2 sides of the images and finally ending with the teeth. The use of the painting effect filter defined the fold lines, segmenting the image adding fractures that gives energy.


I hope my teeth (their not mine I promise) haven’t grossed you out and the few puns dotted about have not had you rolling your eyes too much!

Art · MMT - Ex 4 - Incremental & Twisted Pleats · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt1 - Folding and Crumpling · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Surface Distortion – Ex 4 – Incremental & Twisted Pleats – Japanese Ladies

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.


Then I just couldn’t leave it alone and ended up with a heavily browned mess, I tried making more interesting folds but I’m still not pleased with. I felt down looking at it. 


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.


This immediately grasped my interested and gave me that little glow of potential that I’m becoming quite addicted to.  

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. 


I did a little more folding of some photocopies of the montage of different folds and decided to part the portraits idea, especially after seeing Aldo’s work and move on to something else.