Origami in the Garden 2
The Tucson Botanical Gardens is proud to announce our newest exhibit Origami in the Garden2, which will bring larger than life origami sculptures to the Gardens and allow guests to re-imagine a delicate and precise art on an enormous scale. Created by Kevin and Jennifer Box, this exhibit has been astounding audiences across the country and will reside at the Tucson Botanical Gardens from October 9, 2017 until April 1, 2018.
Whether we find ourselves inspired by the sculptures or the nature that surrounds them, we have the opportunity to discover a bit more about ourselves and our relationships to nature.”
The art of paper folding has long been established in European, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. The oldest known examples of artistic paper folding go back to funeral rites in the 10th century in China, where small paper tokens would be burned to honor the dead. And while each culture has developed their own versions of artistic paper folding, modern day origami traces its origins to Japan in the early 1900s where modeling the natural world with geometric shapes with paper began.
Origami in the Garden2 takes what we all have experienced as a small and fragile paper art that fits in the palm of your hand and magnifies it larger than life, which allows you to witness the geometric representations with more detail. Artists Kevin and Jennifer Box believe their exhibit is perfect for the Tucson Botanical Gardens because of the geometric nature of plant life. “Like origami, plants fold and unfold in similar ways. The pleats of a cactus are repeated in the wings of the Pegasus, flowers fold and unfold a lot like an origami star. Leaves emerge from nothing but a tiny seed into a tree,” says Kevin Box. “In origami, almost anything can be created from the simple starting point of a single piece of paper. Just as plants make something out of nothing, origami encourages us to exercise our creativity and make something out of nothing.”
Kevin and Jennifer created the show, and many of the pieces in it, with world renowned origami masters Michael G. LaFosse, Beth Johnson and Robert J. Lang. The art of origami takes patience, persistence, and the ability to see each step represented in the finished product. It can take established origami artists years to master certain types of folds or perfect a new creation. And that is just when working with small pieces of paper. Kevin and Jennifer have taken origami one step further by making the pieces huge (some over 6 feet tall) and of a material that can withstand the intensity of the Tucson seasons.
“All the pieces in the exhibition started with a simple piece of paper. I spent years pioneering sculptural techniques of lost wax casting and sheet metal fabrication to transform delicate paper into museum quality sculptures that can stand up to the outdoors and the test of time.
The origami artists we work with have spent a lifetime practicing the folding techniques to achieve the details of each model,” says Box. “Once the heavy metalwork is finished, we paint, patina, and powder coat the metal to look like paper again. Each piece takes about a year to make, from developing the original paper models, to engineering the design into metal and then finishing. It takes a lot of time and effort. Thankfully I have a lot of help!”
For over 40 years, the Tucson Botanical Gardens has offered the people of Tucson and Southern Arizona a respite from everyday life. We are an oasis right in the middle of the city protected from the hectic pace of work by our tall walls and shaded from the worries of everyday life by our established foliage. So it made perfect sense to bring Origami in the Garden2 to Tucson Botanical Gardens.
Box adds, “This contrast of natural beauty and man-made artistry bring us into a state of enchantment where we can find ourselves inspired as we explore the exhibition. Sculptures are spread throughout the garden to take us places we may have never been and to show us something new in familiar places we may have seen before. Whether we find ourselves inspired by the sculptures or the nature that surrounds them, we have the opportunity to discover a bit more about ourselves and our relationships to nature.”