Nightshade – Manchester Science Festival

This week I’ve been working at Gallery Oldham creating an installation of paper forms inspired by current exhibition ‘Art Forms in Nature’, a series of photographs by Karl Blossfeldt. The photographs show plant forms magnified up to 30 times their normal size allowing you to see their structure and detail.Nightshade

The paper plant and flower shapes are all based on poisonous, carnivorous and parasitic plants. Giving us the perfect title for the project, Nightshade. I started my research by looking at lots of photographs, reading books and, most importantly, wandering around gardens examining plants.

Once I’d done some sketches of the plants I wanted to create, I started translating these into forms that could be made with paper – where possible I wanted to use origami and folding techniques. A lot of the complicated crease patterns (used to make the origami folds) can be more easily created using a laser cutter to score the paper – but this means quite a bit of computer work before you can do anything.  However, I think a happy combination of traditional and contemporary methods…

Currently suspended in Gallery Oldham’s foyer, the paper forms are in black, white and grey – to mirror the black and white photographs that Karl Blossfeldt took.  During half-term and as part of Manchester Science Festival, I’ll be running origami and paper folding workshops to add to the installation – we’ll be using colourful paper and learning a different technique everyday.  Please feel free to drop in and have a go between 12-4pm.

Jacqui Symons