Final Project: Paper Engineering Experimentation with Andy Singleton and Richard Sweeney

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Paper sculpture from cut out

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Cut out sculpted

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Different angle

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As the project is ticking along, I can’t help thinking about the exhibition and the potential display of my book. As my tutors have suggested there are many ways of thinking about a book, the other avenue is book art .

Traditionally books sit on shelves and are only taken out when we want to read them. They can be more than this. Children’s bookshelves are packed with novelty books filled with pop ups, flaps, folded double pages, cut outs…

This led me to experiment with the possibilities that paper offers as a medium. Yesterday, I was very fortunate to go to a workshop with Andy Singleton and Richard Sweeney at the Victor Felix Gallery in London. It was an exciting day full of cutting and folding.

Andy and Richard demonstrating techniques

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Andy’s work: explores the natural and manmade world through intricate paper cuttings, paper sculpture and hand drawn illustrations. Earlier this year, Andy had a paper installation at the Victoria Revealed exhibition at Kensington Palace. His work was displayed in the  cabinet with Queen Victoria’s original wedding dress!

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Installation

And yesterday we were lucky to see some of his smaller scale work that enabled us to admire the intricacy ofAndy’s paper cutting:

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Cityscape

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Fox cut out

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Owl cut out

Cut outs could become a subproject and be part of the display.  In my case, I would cut a dog and a cat. I could also shorten the story or create a parallel narrative as if the two characters of my picture books were intended for a series. Otherwise, I could maybe create separate panels that could be displayed on the wall.  The possibilities seem endless but time will dictate was is realistic or not…

 

 

 

 

 

We started the workshop with cutting techniques.

Cutting a template:

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Cutting a continuous line drawing:

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Cutting blind i.e. creating a picture as one goes along – here I decided on a tree.

For it to be more successful, I would need to use a reference for the bark and the foliage.

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In the afternoon, we moved on to paper folding.

Richard’s work: concentrates on the manipulation of paper to create  sculptures in their own right. He combines disciplines such as 3D design, drawing, and craft. Whilst he uses computer aided design too, he still maintains a hand on approach and maximises the properties of paper. 

 

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Display at the Victor Felix Gallery

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Shell

 

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Animal sculpture

It was then up to us to experiment with basic techniques. We started with different types of pleats: diamond pleats and fan pleats

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paper folded as a fan

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Different angle from the same sculpture

Paper folded at 45 degree angle to create a change of direction of folds

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We moved on to scoring the paper with a biro or the xacto blade itself and combine with with the folds described above:

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Paper folded at 45 *angle

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side view

Finally, we cut triangle modules that can be combined with the pleats to make more complex structures

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….. such as Richard’s magnificent work.  (If only!)

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It was a wonderful experience.  I was not aware that such intricate and gigantic sculptures could be achieved with paper and paper only.

The quality of the paper is key. To assemble Richard uses watercolour paper that he sprays and pegs together until it is dry.

Many hours of diligent practice would be necessary to achieve only the smallest of their work. Maybe knowledge in physics and aerodynamics? Who knows?

Anyhow, for the final project, I plan to incorporate some of the cut outs for a mini book and possibly explore the possibilities of pop ups.

 




 

 

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