My partner Ioana Stoian and I were invited as guests of honor for the Salon Résonance[s] in Strasbourg, France in November 2012. One of the requirements of our participation was the creation of a large installation piece, sized for a space about four meters by four meters (or about 150 square feet).
We created an extremely large work, based on my Dragon Helix pattern, using elephant hide sheets cut in to strips and then glued together to achieve a 42 meter long sheet of paper. By my calculations there are over 19,000 folds, 2.86km of creases, and about a month’s worth of actual time folding. It took from June 2012 until October 2012 to fold this thing; I had to stop folding at times because the paper was so rough on my hands that my fingers were bleeding. I believe this is one of the largest and most complex origami pieces ever made.
There were over 16,000 visitors during the four days of the art salon, and it seemed like every one of them stopped to look at our piece and then come ask us questions about it. We found ourselves repeating the answers to people in our sleep: “Yes, we folded it, Yes, it’s made from paper, No, we didn’t use any machines or tools, Yes, it’s origami…”
This piece attracted a lot of positive attention, and we are actively looking for opportunities to exhibit it elsewhere. I very much enjoyed creating a large-scale piece, and I’m focusing on larger installation work going forward. It’s so rewarding to see the reactions on people’s faces when you make something so large and overwhelming.