12/12/2017

Styrofoam artwork by Jenni Rope

On this grey and sludgy Tuesday, my eyes feast on these large mobile sculptures by the Finnish artist Jenni Rope - they look like slow motion explosions. They are big works, more like room installations, and are not the only type of thing she does - she is also a very fine painter and graphic artist (I love those brushstroke works and also her textile pattern design). But mobiles are something I was always quite crazy about, and the way she uses styrofoam slabs to make these, is really cool.

When you paint styrofoam, it looks like all kinds of other things: rocks, minerals, concrete - heavy, somehow. And a bit unreal. 

I always find it an enormous inspiration, when artists work in anywhere available and inexpensive materials, such as these. You don't need brass, bronze or granite to make fine sculptural expressions!

Sometimes she does on-the-floor installations with these odd, painted shapes, I really love this one from 2011, 'The Findings'.



12/08/2017

Japanese Quilt Stars

The Christmas project for you this weekend, are these cool stars. I named them Japanese Quilt Stars, because they look like the stars often used in traditional quilts - and I made you special print-and-cut paper sheets for these, with lots of Japanese vibe. 

They are surprisingly simple modular (6 unit) origami stars - not made from square papers, but from rectangular ones. I have made you some very easy to use sheets for printing and cutting, crop marked for your convenience. With my sheets a star like this is about 18 centimetres across.

My sheet-designs are for printing on both sides, because this design really displays both sides of the paper (and they have a very pretty and completely different looking backside....)

To print these sheets (four small sheets per A4, and you need six units for one star) on both sides, set the printer to print 'page 1 only'. Then grab your sheets from the 'out'-tray, turn them over, put them in the feed tray blank side up, and print again, this time set to 'page 2 only'. I do this all the time, because of my obsession with designing my own origami paper, which - of course - is so much nicer with print in two different designs.

Download my designs right here. I mixed them a lot, as you can see from the backsides, but just one pattern can be varied, in alternating between which pattern you face outwards, in the first fold. 

A: red waves and dots
B: blue arrows and squares

C: pink stripes and triangles
D: blue waves and diagonals
E: red snow and waves

F: blue stars and dots

Last but not least: the stars are really not hard to make at all, if you have just a little bit of origami experience, but I have not produced my own tutorial for these, since there is no way I could explain them as well as this patient Indian gentleman on YouTube. 


Happy folding, and have a great weekend.
 

12/07/2017

Teeny Tiny

Anyone struggling with the Fröbel Stars, I wrote about the other day?

I just found these in a matchbox in one of our boxes of Christmas tinsel. They most likely are made by my husband's brother, who is not quite like most people, when it comes to doing crazy complicated things with paper and scissors. His Easter letters and woven Christmas hearts are also really something else! I simply cannot imagine how he managed to finish those little tips....??

12/05/2017

Oh, those Plop Plop Balls...!

The most wildly popular paper project I have ever shared here, must be these: the so called 'Plop Plop Baubles' from December 2015. I just checked the blog backend, and I can see that the post have been visited almost fifty thousand times, and they are also the most repinned design I have ever put up on Pinterest. 

Well, I'm so super glad to have shared something people seem to like - but the reason I take them up again, is that I saw that a popular Danish magazine have produced a video tutorial on them! 



It's on YouTube, right here.

That's great, because I would love to do video tutorials, but I simply don't have the time or the setup to do them - not right now, anyway.

And they also came back to me, because I just cleared out some of all the shoe boxes full of paper things I have produced for this blog. I usually keep just a few items for myself, the rest I give away as small host/hostess gifts in the holiday season - but I still seem to have boxes full of the stuff. 

So I decided to make some little gift bags for a very nice Red Cross charity gift shop we have here in Copenhagen, hoping they might generate a few kroner for them. If you are an over-producer of such things, as I am, you could do the same! 



12/01/2017

Star Parade on December first

The Fröbel Star is a Christmas classic in Denmark (but comes from Germany, read about it here), and although actually a bit complex, it is something most older kids and almost all the rest of us - who haven't given up on such frivoluos pursuits - can actually make. The procedure is a bit mind-boggling, and I must admit that every year I have to at least peak at at tutorial, and then my fingers seem to remember the rest. 

It is a brilliant little construction, and it's made from four folded paper strips. Basically you lock them into a four legged wheel, and then you fold four tips from one side, turn over and fold the four opposite tips from the other side. Then you fold the middle 'knot' - also consisting of four tips, then turn over and fold the middle knot on the other side. So the work has two processes, that you repeat twice, once on each side. When you know what you are doing, a star takes you about five minutes. 

I will recommend that you get some of the pre-cut paper strips we always use in DK. They are available from craft/DIY/hobby webshops internationally, and are a flat pack little product you could order cheaply online to, I would guess, almost anywhere in the world. They come in all imaginable colours and prints - and the ones I have used here are 15, 20 and 24 mm. 


So, that was a lot of words. And here's the thing: I have tried so many fun variations of these, that I decided to do this blog post dedicated to the Paper Strip Stars - in all the varieties I have tried.

First I will show you the Fröbel Star variations, and I will include links to the best tutorials and videos I have found, and they have all been tested. The examples I have folded for these photos, are made with only one middle knot finished, that way they are flat and easier to photograph. Such one-sided stars are, of course, also great for decorationg the table, gifts etc. - and you make them by simply not doing the middle bit on one side, and just cut off the excess strips.


THE BASIC FRÖBEL STAR

I posted something about these some Christmases ago, and included a rather poor tutorial - but I think I have found a much better one: It's from a place called www.danishthings.com and if you click on the image, you have a high res, very thorough photographic guide. Find it here.

If that one doesn't do it for you, I can recommend this one from Starfolds.dk.


FLAT FRÖBEL STARS

These I know in three variations. A: with the straight crossed middle / B: with the diagonally crossed middle and C: a fun variation, that looks different on each side.  

Starfolds explains A and B - in Danish, but with photos, and probably very google-translatable simple written instructions. 

The Craftables shows the C variation in English and with photos. 


FRÖBEL STAR WITH ROSEBUD MIDDLE
 
This very pretty variant, I have found on a danish blog as well - and there is a very detailed series of photos, but it's a slightly more tricky way to do the middle. Pay close attention to what happens in the photos, and you will get it right. I did! 



FRÖBEL STAR WITH PYRAMID MIDDLE 

Actually the simplest way you can finish the middle tips, and almost considered cheating! But it looks nice too. Find the tutorial right here.

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In the top image you may have noticed some stars that didn't quite look like the Fröbel Stars. I have included them, because they are fun, and you make them from the same pre-cut paper strips we all use in Denmark.
  
SOFT BOW STARS

These are made with three strips, and are very easy. See a great video right here!


BOXY STARS

These are a kind of variation of the ones above, but they come from a copyrighted e-book, so I won't share the tutorial here - BUT warmly recommend that you spend the 60 dkr / 10 dollars / 8 euro it costs, as I believe in supporting my fellow paper enthusiasts. It's in Danish but the tutorials are very well presented, and easy to follow.


//

So, hoping I haven't exhausted you utterly already, I hope you are ready to get to work.

A great bit of advice, is to be patient at first - and remember that the principle of the Fröbel Star is such, that you sometimes happen to make a 'reversed' star (it depends on how you lock the first strips in place) - so if you can't seem to make the tutorial work, sometimes you simply need to reflect or flip the image (whether in your head, or in Photoshop) and try again. Did that make sense?

Now try for yourself! They are addictive and fun.

11/21/2017

Air + Paper = Magic

I really love these flimsy, airy, weightless (and some, but not me, would say useless) paper vases or containers designed by Torafu Architects from Japan. They are called Air Vases, and they perfectly illustrate everything I love about working with paper: with a bit of simple intervention, a sheet of paper - delicate and fragile in itself - can become three dimensional, and paper does actually withstand much more tugging and handling than you might think. 

They are not a brand new product, but I was inspired to post them here, because I spontaneously decided that I want one for myself, when I saw them again on Pinterest. A bit of Googling made it clear, that you actually can't buy them that many places - but I came up with one dependable seller in Europe, Design Museum in London. So they are on my Christmas wish list. 

Maybe on yours too? Aren't they cool?


When you buy them, they are a flat disc of paper, with an intricate, concentric pattern of slits that you gently have to manipulate into a vase, rounded or more slender, or perhaps a low bowl shape. 

I love the utter simplicity of this, and also that it is a beautiful thing you could just pop in the mail in an envelope. A great product!

As you can see they have been made in many, many colours and also prints, and are still produced in  Japan. Scan your local market for them, they are available a bit here and there.





10/26/2017

Flowerpower: ERDEM x HM

Normally I'm not into floral wear, although I cannot get enough of flowers in nature, in art and in print design. For some reason I just don't feel comfortable in florals myself. They end up stuck in the back of the closet, every time I try.

Now, I love it when great marketing design is so seductive and persuasive, that it makes me want something I don't usually wan't, so badly! I find this brain process fascinating. The thing is, of course, that you don't need to obey every impulse - you can actually just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The freshly launched web campaign for Erdem x HM is SO beautiful. I've idled an hour away in front of the screen, exploring every detail, and now I just want to swoon in a meadow full of spring flowers, dressed in Edwardian/Pre-Raphaelite/boho/country lady style and sport an androgynous haircut. And, believe me, that is a bit of a steep step for me, stylewise (I would really like the backpack from the men's collection though).

Get flowered yourself by the stunning web design (use your mouse scroll button to explore the site), or, at least see the crazily lavish Baz Luhrman film.

(all images are screenshots from www.hm.com and from the Baz Luhrman film)




10/10/2017

Lydia Kasumi Shirreff: Paper engineer


London based paper artist Lydia Kasumi Shirreff calls herself a 'paper engineer', and the complex geometrics of her work, makes that title quite appropriate. And when art and engineering meet, interesting things often happen! 

She does all kinds of abstract, fun and surreal backdrops or mini set designs for commercial photo shoots or editorial illustrations for a long list of very prestigious magazines and clients. In an interview from last year - read it right here - she tells us, when asked why she works in paper, that she just started out as a young designer/sculptor needing a cheap, available and flexible material. And then I suppose she must have stuck with the paper, and has become an absolute virtuoso.

See the magic she works - more links and info after the images.

These cubist, abstract works are just stunning! 

Some of her work is more explosively colorful - and these are just a few examples, visit her website (which I linked to in the beginning of the text), and explore. What I find fun personally, being so fond of paperwork myself, is trying to figure out some of her processes. Not so easy, and very, very impressive, no matter how she has done it.

She has done a lot of figurative set ups for various fashion and lifestyle clients, sometimes so neatly done, that they fool the eye at first (a bit in the style of the amazing German artist Thomas Demand)  but more often like these, where the feel of the paper makes it all pop-arty and candy like. 

On her website she does this great thing - she has a couple of 'behind the scenes' photos, showing her equally impressive work in the photo studio. When you see the shot I will show here, below, it looks almost like a surreal construction made in some 3D rendering program.....

But then check out the next image - and note how the roll of duct tape indicates the size of the small, hanging paper sculptures.

Nice work, indeed, and I love how she shares some of the meticulous preparations for such a single shot. How she works, can also be seen in this little video I found, where she explains a project she made for the eye wear brand Cubitts.


All images: copyright Lydia Kasumi Shireff

10/02/2017

The National

I have recently discovered that I really like The National, the band from New York, that is - and after I saw the way they present their new album, 'Sleep Well Beast', which came out a few weeks ago, I have decided to become a fan, and take it from there...

They had none other than Pentagram design a whole corporate branding package, slightly as a bit of a joke, I guess. But it's so super elegant! Read a lot more about it here.

But enjoy a couple of samples here, and - of course - check out the album, it sounds great. 

I really love the use of the two intense shades of blue, with just a touch of red here and there, and the grainy monochrome photos. But some of it HAS to be an absolute corporate-identity-joke, I mean, a stapler...? A tape-dispenser (and even tape)...? That's so funny.





But actually my interest in The National started last year, at Copenhagen Contemporary this really great (but temporary, sadly) art venue here in Cph.

Last year they had the Icelandic video artist Ragnar Kjartansson's project 'A Lot of Sorrow' on the programme, a film about a rather unusual performance: In 2013, at MoMA in  New York, the band played their song 'Sorrow' non stop for six hours in front of an audience. Ragnar Kjartansson - who came up with the idea - also filmed this epic display of patience and endurance.

And at CC they showed an edited version of the performance (and also had a few full length screenings), and I guess we walked into some part in the later half, where the band is in a state of exhausted deep, deep concentration and commitment to the song. It had a mesmerizing, weird effect, that repetition - and though the song is simple, gloomy and not very long, it somehow really grows on you. Grows into you, almost.

It is really worth checking out this fascinating project, if it is shown anywhere near you.

alotofsorrow.com

Here is a little film about it from Louisiana Channel

There is a full length but audio only version on YouTube.