Thursday, January 26, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #15

What I did:

Sunday: (3 hours) Experiment with tissue,
Monday: (5 hours) Large drawings, making little forms with wire, talked to a few sources around campus via e-mail and meetings (About my concept), Richard Tucker and Mark for places to hang my work.
Tuesday: (3 hours) Sketches on cut out shapes to see varieties of folds. Started practice folds on scrap paper.
Thursday: (5 hours) Built a few wire armatures, Studio "paper folding" revisions, cut out some paper shapes to "size" the armature.
Friday (Morning): Wrote the journal article and considering the space as to how my piece will be hung.


I'm BRINGING MY DRAWINGS TO LIFE. I'm really excited to see how the wire armature comes out along with the folded paper forms. I'm still working through the armature portion because I want it to accent my paper folds as well. This might be a challenge and I won't know until I finish folding a sheet of tissue paper and layering it on top.

What I accomplished/discovered/encountered:

Revised my studio this week -- hung up my older paper folds onto the wall and re-organized myself to really focus on the major subject at hand: Siphonophores! I doodled a large creature in sharpie and him large to a scale I want to work at. He will be in several layers and chances are the creature will change very much from my drawing. The drawing is meant to be a guide, but as I started the folding process, it begins to change even a little bit!

There was a lot of trial and error I didn't anticipate until I finished the wire form and tried to layer with the paper shape. I cut out several paper shapes and I couldn't figure out how to fit them over the wire armature with no folds at first. This means when I tried to layer it with the paper shape with folds it was too small or didn't quite fit . I may have to step back to create the paper shape, fold, THEN make the wire armature first. I'm having trouble with this stage of the process, but I know once I figure out a "system" I can crank the first layers of the head of the jelly. Until then I will spend my weekend figuring out this issue to get ahead of my process. I'm feeling good about IP!

The problem solving is pretty hard to explain at the moment, but I need to compose a skeleton for my jelly to gain a sense of depth. I think the best chance is to make the paper layer, fold it and compose a skeleton afterward!

There are some more ideas I have here for cut out shapes.

Right here I thought about making a "swirl" shape from a conch shell for the very top of the creature. This drawing as a few designs for the top so I may have to make a quick texture of the paper just to see what looks best.

A combination of ideas from previous iterations! The "conch" top without the texture incorporated. Curious to see where this goes ....

What I think I should do next:

Continue the wire armature and finish a completed study of paper folds + wire. Light it up and see what happens!

Rinse and repeat!

Friday, January 20, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #14

What I did:

Monday: (4 hours) Obtained different samples of papers, Folded and played with papers, Made patterns from scrap paper
Tuesday: (4 hours) Made more patterns for a mini model, started folding tissue paper and shaping folds of the model
Wednesday: (3 hours)
Thursday: (4 hours) Obtained more wire of various gauges, Playing with wire armature


Pretty successful this week -- I'm hoping by Tuesday to finish this model and incorporate another model with wire armature to "animate" my creature. I'm very happy with my experimentation of tissue paper and I think I might be on track for what to see my paper Deep Sea creatures will look like. Though the material will change when it gets bigger in scale .... which is why wire armature might be the next big step ...

What I accomplished/discovered/encountered:

Last semester I worked heavily by playing with folding techniques and this semester I'm applying what I have learned. This time I'm cutting out "star-like" shapes and sketching lines on the scrap patterns and creasing these folds on the tissue paper.

Once I make several shapes and apply different folds ... I can layer the shapes and make my own 3D patterns! I'm beginning to create the large and microscopic creatures on Ernst Heckel's plates. With more practice, the level of detail in my folds will intensify.

On a smaller scale the acid-free tissue paper can retain it's shape without much issue. Though once I begin to go bigger, I can see that the tissue paper will "flop" and lose it's character. I will have to incorpate a wire skeleton inside in order to keep the structure of the creature. The one major benefit of having a wire skeleton is that I can bend certain "tendrils" to give the creature movement and even personality. I can make it that my paper creatures will be able to interact and communicate with each other -- not just through touch or tendril movement, but also through light.

Exerpts taken from Wikipedia:

There are five main theories for bioluminescent traits:

Counterillumination camouflage

In some species bacterial bioluminescence is used for counterillumination so the animal matches the overhead environmental light


The cookiecutter shark uses bioluminescence for camouflage, but a small patch on its underbelly remains dark and appears as a small fish to large predatory fish like tuna and mackere lswimming beneath it. When these fish try to consume the "small fish", they are bitten by the shark, which gouges out small circular "cookie cutter"-shape chunks of flesh from its hosts.
Bioluminescence is used as a lure to attract prey by several deep sea fish such as the anglerfish. A dangling appendage that extends from the head of the fish attracts small animals to within striking distance of the fish. Some fish, however, use a non-bioluminescent lure.

Dinoflagellates have an interesting twist on this mechanism. When a predator of plankton is sensed through motion in the water, the dinoflagellate luminesces. This, in turn, attracts even larger predators that will consume the would-be predator of the dinoflagellate.

The attraction of mates is another proposed mechanism of bioluminescent action. This is seen actively infireflies, which use periodic flashing in their abdomens to attract mates in the mating season. In the marine environment, this has been well documented only in certain small crustaceans called ostracod. It has been suggested that pheromones may be used for long-distance communication, and bioluminescence used at close range to "home in" on the target.


Certain squid and small crustaceans use bioluminescent chemical mixtures or bioluminescent bacterial slurries in the same way as many squid use ink. A cloud of luminescence is expelled, confusing or repelling a potential predator while the squid or crustacean escapes to safety. Every species of firefly has larvae that glow to repel predators.


Communication between bacteria (quorum sensing) plays a role in the regulation of luminesence in many bacterial species. Using small extracellularly secreted molecules, they are able to adapt their behavior to turn on genes for light production only when they are at high cell densities.


While most marine bioluminescence is green to blue, the Black Dragonfish produces a red glow. This adaptation allows the fish to see red-pigmented prey, which are normally invisible in the deep ocean environment where red light has been filtered out by the water column

There are many forms of biolumenscence, but I will probably just stick to one form of it and that is communication. When you think about a world where nothing can see it's neighbor, every type of biolum. falls under the category of communication though some forms of communication intends great harm on their neighbor in order to survive. The environment I am creating will not intend a hostile environment, but a place where all creatures acknowledge and interact with one another.

What I think I should do next:

Finish model for Tuesday
Wire armature play -- Do I need a lot of wire or how little can I possibly minimize wire use for lighting purposes? What gauge can I work with?
Thinking about going BIGGG. Start plans for a bigger version of model just to see how large I can go.
Need to obtain larger sheets of tissue paper or get a roll. Though I can work with sheets, I'm limiting my folding capabilities and aesthetics (Seams of paper layered will show with the light shining. Want to minimize this as much as possible).

Monday, January 16, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #13

What I did:



I spent the week on isolating my idea. I wrote a list of the various themes, some scientific like SIPHONAPHORAE to curvy plants. I narrowed my list down and sketched what I wanted most. Not physically productive, but narrowing down my focus.

What I accomplished/discovered/encountered:

My small group from the first day we returned mentioned that I really need to settle on one idea. It's true, I have too many ideas floating in my head and this week I decided to make a written list and figure out what I'm truly passionate about. Instead of spending time trying to fold a billion different things I have decided that I want to focus on one subject and one subject only. I decided on the subject of deep sea creatures. Specifically Siphonophorae.

Just to remind you of what Siphonophorae (SI-PHON-NO-PHORE-E) are:

Wikipedia reference:
Siphonophorae or Siphonophora, the siphonophores, are an order of the Hydrozoa, a class of marineinvertebrates belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. They are colonial, but the colonies can superficially resemble jellyfish; although they appear to be a single organism, each specimen is actually a colony of Siphonophora. The best known species is the dangerous Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis). Siphonophores are especially scientifically interesting because they are composed o fmedusoid and polypoid zooids that are morphologically and functionally specialized. Each zooid is an individual, but their integration with each other is so strong that the colony attains the character of one large organism.

I realized that Deep Sea creatures is my original and natural inspiration for my work. My plant work was an idea, but I saw that even in my sketches that I wasn't interested in true plant forms. I really wanted forms that were unique and strange. Mysterious even! I'm trying to display my own personal definition of beautiful and I believe that the way to do it is to follow the very definition of nature I have been sharing all along: a natural phenomena. How plants sprout, how jellyfish flutter in the deep dark depths, are miracles of life. How I have approached my project thus far is my curiosity's growth. At certain points I let my curiosity venture too far and it would "distract" me from my current goals, but now I realize my mind acts just like the process of nature -- and that I constantly trying to captivate the beholder (Myself) and as a result I create form after form through a morphological phase. An example of this is the stages of a leaf's life that I made:

These leaves represent the various stages, or levels, of life. The first leaf is healthy and fresh plucked from the tree. The last leaf is after several days of being separated from it's source of life. The idea of my deep sea jellyfish follows a similar idea, but more complex. Organic forms, according to Ernest Heckel, is a series of ever-increasing complexity. You can look at a leaf and see it as unique by it's shape and color, but take a microscope to it and you see a richness of complex patterns of the form in the leaf's finest structures.

There is a central figure, like the heart, but from there the creature morphs into something more complex and expansive. I begin with this central structure, but it develops "stages" of growth over time due to evolution. Once the creature has settled inside it's environment it develops to adapt to it's new habitat. This piece I am composing is something organic -- where I hang this creature will dwell in it's habitat and adapt to it's surroundings. For it's celebrated life my paper installation is about the audience recognizing the aspects of it flourishing in a new environment curiously while human life observing.

These figures I'm creating are lifesize (Or even larger) creatures. I've played with the idea of creating large molecules, diatoms, or even pollen, but I want something a little more complex.

Ultimately I leered back toward the deep sea jellies -- because these creatures are the original source of my inspiration for IP. How I sketch them look like living plants and that's what I love the most about them. They are these graceful creatures that lack features such as eyes and hands, but have simplied their way of life. They float and flutter through the sea, siphoning their food/using long fishing tendrils, and using communication through biolumenscence.

What I should do next:

Make a model using tissue paper and see where that takes me! Just play!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

IP Consultation Review

Semester Reflection

My time in IP has helped me pinpoint and conduct exclusive research on my interests. For IP I compiled a list of interests based off my past work and my known interests. Plants and animals was the most common theme. By spending time researching these interests I developed networks and developed a web of interests connected to my work. Dedicating a year to a project is a different and rather difficult way to work because it’s a brand new practice for me. I realized that I draw as my main practice and therefore I really wanted to avoid drawing for a year. I turned to sculpture and begin a merger of my skills through 2D and 3D.

At the consultation I received good feedback for my work. I really liked the suggestions that were made. The pieces I showed were all separate ideas, but nothing solid in what I want to do. I showed leaves, tree branches, drew deep-sea creatures, etc. Over the course of the semester I sometimes felt “overwhelmed” by the amount of exploration and work I assigned myself. I was working between light, paperfolding techniques, and scale. All three had solid paths and it would be overbearing to try and incorporate all three for April. This was a valid point and I feel I need to focus on what truly interests me:

1) Texture, patterns, textiles. multiples of nature à exploring this through paperfolds. This is my primary focus.

2) Size and scale à Taking normally small creatures, microbes, tiny plants, and making them massively large. Secondary concern, but I would love to explore the idea of taking small, unseen species and making them large. A lot of microbe species have a lot of “texture” to them and making them large with a lot of attention to the “textures” would really enhance my paperfolding.

Thinking about small objects – bonsai trees create a mini “world” and a sense of wonder because you normally assume trees to be these large giants, but a bonsai tree is mini representation and because of this people are amazed with having a”mini” tree. Out of body scale.

Also think about even taking objects and focusing on a small part of it instead, example, cross-section of a plant stem and sculpting the structures inside, vascular structures … phoem and xylem … can make a form where you even make the structures inside of the entire piece.

3) Biolumisence à Using light to explore “wonder” through the science of natural light. I’m not nearly as interested in this, if I have time I would incorporate this, but this is definitely adding another level of complication to my piece.

4) I believe I’m interested in the Evolutionary process and depicting it in the future. I’m showing overgrowth and how it has changed over time or why we don’t have giant flowers or giant microbes for that matter.

The one thing I’m not quite sure I agree is on is the use of color. I picked white specifically because I do not want color to add any miscommunication of what I’m trying to portray. Color can assign emotions, feelings and change the subject of what I am trying to achieve. Though the suggestion given by Joe about creating more complex shapes, folds, shadows would be the only acceptable way for the color white to be used. I think the color white is the reason why people naturally want me to focus on using light too, because there is no color present I would turn to forms of contrast through the shadows of the paper.

Over the course of last semester I am happy with my process, but the level of my paper sculptures require more attention. It’s lacking the drive required for them to become more successful paper plants. I’m looking into exploring my forms and the level of detail that goes into them. I’m overlooking the tender loving “care” I normally put into my work by taking on some many other duties and allowing myself to be fascinated by other ways to expand on my project. My current forms missing the “wow” factor of my paper sculptures because they lack the intricate, delicate details found in a lot of my drawings. While I am setting my goals based off a separate discipline I feel I can better establish my work by using the skills gained from my drawing talents and the mindset can perhaps “unlock” a new way to approach my work. I play with what interests me: plants and animals. The process and the discovery of these plants and not necessarily the end product drive me. What I create is an emotional reaction to my research and I depict it’s beauty through the folds of paper.

I’ve found over the summer that putting myself out in the open – camping in backcountry, I get to see a raw form of myself. Out in the middle of backcountry I observed the world without any distractions. I only had my classmates and my thoughts – and it was a nice exercise to practice for once. I tend to think that while at home or in Ann Arbor I can put myself in a place where I can work without any distractions, but I didn’t truly realize what working without distractions meant until I was out in backcountry with only my sketchbook. I became an observer who journals and sketched my experiences, feelings, emotions, and stories while outdoors. Over break I tried to recreate this feeling by going outdoors through my backyard. Though it’s not the exact same setting, it is an acre of forest complete with a pond and enough trees that completely enclose it from seeing any other houses. I sat down and just listened. I visited the Fredrik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids too – it houses a large sculpture park and unique garden on the inside. Over break I decided to try and work on the technical aspect of my work by doing more research on origami models, it’s history, and modern artists today who practice origami. The amount of work and detail placed into some of the modules made here is just the kind of attention I need to apply toward my work. Unfortunately due to my physical capabilities I was not able to produce anything special of the sort. I managed to score some drawing, but I wasn’t quite so fortunate with paper folding itself. I focused heavily on research by reading, writing down, watching videos related to my IP. I’m trying a new angle this semester and I wanted to see it will help the issues listed above.

Current ideas

Fold an entire system inside a large structure and light it from the inside just to see what composes the plant.

Study the dissection of a plant or animal and lighting it from the inside. Maybe even expose a small section of it so people can look inside the complex system of these pieces.

Do some scientific illustration of these paper plants and do drawings of these pieces. Make my own cultural representation of my plants and animals.



Joe gave me an interesting term to research which may change the entire way I look at IP. These are some images/definitions I'm looking into to inspire and refresh my process. I really need to focus on a single route -- but what is it I wonder? Let's find out.

Cryptozoology (from Greek κρυπτός, kryptos, "hidden" + zoology; literally, "study of hidden animals") refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. This includes looking for living examples of animals that are considered extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported, such as Bigfoot and Chupacabra;[1] and wild animals dramatically outside their normal geographic ranges, such as phantom cats or "ABCs" (an initialism commonly used by cryptozoologists that stands forAlien Big Cats).

Cryptozoologists are a specialized branch of monster hunters. Since their ultimate goal is to discover either new species of animal or new subspecies, the science of cryptozoology is rooted in biology. The more a creature shows evidence of being supernatural, the less likely it is that cryptozoologists would be interested in it. Not many cryptozoologists investigate the strangest things like ghostly demon cats,Mothman or werewolves. Ghost hunts are left to the paranormal investigators and a few fringe cryptozoologists. On the other hand, there are very few animals, however mythical they may be, that have never stirred the interest of a cryptozoologist. This is because perfectly real animals have often been obscured by so much folklore that they seemed ridiculous.

The art of origami is taken up a notch in the form of textural textiles by Milan-based designer, Elena Salmistraro. Elena produced these series of lovely accessories using paper, Tyvek and a sustainable fabric called Jacroki. This is something I'm developing an interest in as outside 'textures' for my plant forms.

Spherical Origami is a series of paper artworks which are made by folding a single sheet of paper. Most of their forms are designed based on axisymmetrical geometry. Their sophisticated appearances were generated by a computer under the geometrical constraints that the shapes had to be reconstructable from a sheet of paper without tears and wrinkles. As a result of precise calculations and computational simulations, unique origami works that have curved surfaces were created.

Another method to make complex, yet figurative structures.

Flower Tower, complex folds that "pop-up" and have this piece evolve.

Organic pieces made of tissue paper to indicate it's delicate nature of the human body and what dwells within.

The kusudama is a paper model that is usually created by connecting multiple units together. The individual pieces may be glued, sewed or connected with themselves. The complete kusudama may be decorated with tassels, beads, feathers and anything you can imagine.

Kusudama originate from ancient Japanese culture, where they were used for incense like a talismans against evil. It's possible that they were originally the bunches of flowers and herbs. The word kusudama itself is a combination of two Japanese words kusuri, Medicine, and tama — Ball.