Art · MMT - Ex 7 - Rotational Crumpling Technique · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt1 - Folding and Crumpling · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Surface Distortion – Ex 7 – Rotational Crumpling Technique

This technique almost beat me and although I’m okay with the results, I’m not entirely sure that they met the brief. After 3 attempts I made a decision to not do any more searching for a better paper choice and to move on.

So what did I do.

First I tried the technique on brown paper but it was far too fibrous, far more than the brown paper used to wrap parcels. I just couldn’t get the folds to hold, crumples I had galore but the circles just wouldn’t appear. So, heck I added some pen to give the impression of rotation.

I chose some soft handmade paper but it was far to fabric like to make the folds hold. In the end I resorted to holding the centre into a circle with a loom band.

But most things can be rescued with a good iPhone filter.

I’d always wanted to use some Japanese calligraphy paper printed with grid lines on one of these exercises and because I’d gone in a different direct with the folding I decided to have a go at crumpling it.

This didn’t really work any better, the folds, textures and shadows are nice but my circle just forced itself back into a square.

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.

Art · MMT - Ex 2 - Rotational Accordion Pleats · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Pjt1 - Folding and Crumpling · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Surface Distortion – Ex 2 – Rotational Accordian Pleats

Just a quick summary tonight about the first exercise I’ve selected to do for the first assignment from Mixed Media for Textiles.

Folding generally requires precision which is quite a challenge for me, so unfortunately my folds are not perfect, not yet anyway!

I started this exercise by digging out some papers that I liked, looking for a variety of textures. And I started with some trusty khadi paper.

I folded it like a fan, added some stitch and because I love to add colour I dipped it in some watered down Brusho pigment.

For a while I’ve had a notebook with pages for copying, like a receipt pad without the carbon paper and I really fancy folding the 2 sheets together to see how the lines of the folds looked when they were transferred.

The paper was far more pliable and I soon found myself playing with the folds making them even less precise and even.

I worked the 3 pieces together into one sample after randomly dipping and dripping paint onto the papers.

The pva glue I used to stick them down enabled me to manipulate and fix the folds.

This sample is very me, it reminds me of dragon lizards 🦎 and I like the way the added colour highlights the folds. This could easily become very addictive.

I really wanted to make some small folded fans but I didn’t feel that today I had the drive or the patience to make them and I was given the perfect get out by having, on my chaotic worktop some fairy cake cases with beautiful delicate folds. As an added delight I’d got some that had been used as ink and paint pots so we’re already delicately coloured.

Working with inspiration I’m still carrying from ATV I worked some snipped off pieces into a pile with tread.

Then, just because I dipped them in the Brusho paint and after some drying and manipulation I mounted them on a very old piece of paper that I painted way back on my first textile art class on Pointillism.


It was cheating and maybe one day I will actually fold some myself but I’m pleased with the results. There is lots of texture and variation in the colour. The mix of original dried colour and the newly dipped colour adds depth and interest. I even felt inspired to do a little drawing.

One of the things I like to do when working on a series of samples is to have an element of focus that ties the pieces together, such as colour, or materials, or a theme.

With this type of exercise this is difficult as you are an explorer looking for treasure and limiting yourself can hinder you by not letting you travel off map. 

I had originally thought I would tie these samples together by only using pages that are currently in altered books. I liked the idea of using papers that I had painted and distorted as the base to be folded. 

I’m glad I didn’t stick strictly to this plan and experimented with some different papers first but I couldn’t completely let the idea go and did make one sample with a painted page that I further distorted with sandpaper rubbing. And of course I dipped it too.

The end result is not totally satisfying, it started off looking very amateurish. Making me think of the paper lanterns we used to make as kids! It took some manipulating and tweaking to get it into a shape that I like. 

Although I’m not sure about the final shape but I do love the colours and the way the paint has worked with the original gesso and the sanding and pricking that I added today.