Category Archives: Project 1

Part 1, Stages 2&3, Project 1, Exercise 5 – Basic crumpling

15 September 2016

Project 1, Exercise 5 – Basic crumpling technique

Throughout this exercise, I referred to the text “Folding techniques for designers” (Jackson, 2011:200-209). A full citation is given in the reference list at the end of this blog entry.

An exercise in crumpling and opening a paper sheet

As suggested, I followed the method for crumpling and preparing a paper sheet ready for manipulation and embossing. I used some very crisp stiff gift-wrap tissue which was approximately A3 size. I started by crumpling the paper into a small ball.

I then picked the paper open to approximately half it’s original size:

Then, I crumpled it into a ball again before unpicking to a roughly a quarter or its original size, repeating this iterative process another twice, until I had a very small, partially unpicked, crumpled sheet of tissue:

The paper was now covered in random creases, with an elastic feel/handle. I followed the order of the samples suggested in the course notes before moulding the paper over various surfaces and using different materials.

SAMPLE 1 – Pink tissue, single rib

I made a simple rib in my tissue and photographed it under natural light:

Being pink, the sample reminded me of a chicken’s comb, or perhaps even female genitals. 

I left the corners of the paper crumpled rather than attempting to spread them out into a sheet. This gave a strong contrast between the relatively smooth sides of the rib and the heavily creased areas, which were denser and darker. There was an interesting effect of translucency where the smooth areas let light through and creases formed darker more opaque ‘lines’. I’m not sure whether the rib was supposed to turn out “wavy” – I think this was because my rib was wide, so the excess tissue behaved like a frill. In any case, I rather like the effect.

I was rather surprised by this sample. I enjoyed handling it; the crisp crunch, and springiness. The level of detail of the creases was engaging too. When I sketched the sample (see photos below), I realised that there were different depths of creasing; some fine and superficial, others deep. 

Above: Pencil and water-soluble pencil sketch of sample 1

Above: Enlargement of an area of the sketch of sample 1

Despite being supposedly random, there were definite groups of creases (lines), some of which were parallel, others which seemed to radiate from a point. Looking at the sample in close detail, it reminded me very much of wrinkles on a human face. There was a weathered, aged feel to the sample.

SAMPLE 2: Pink tissue, parallel lines of ribs

Using the same piece of tissue as in sample 1 (unfolded and re-formed), I made a sample with several parallel ribs. The sample naturally formed an arch (inverted U shape).

Because the sample is raised off the paper it is possible to see fine creases between the ribs. I noticed how they resist the passage of light and look darker, almost like blood vessels in a thin piece of skin. It was an interesting result.

I don’t feel that my technical skill is very good yet, because I didn’t manage to make the ribs even sized and completely parallel. Maybe this had something to do with the handling qualities of the tissue paper? 

SAMPLE 3: Pink tissue, radial ribs

Again, This sample was made using the same piece of tissue as in samples 2 and 3. This was my favourite so far. The definition of the ribs was very strong. 


It reminded me of a sea-urchin case. I like the fact that it didn’t “sit flat” on the paper and has the feeling of floating or being partially suspended.

I decided to sketch the sample. I like to use different media, as it encourages a different interpretation and greater insight. My sketch of sample 1 had been very detailed and true to the object, so as an alternative, I used water-soluble wax crayon and an Inktense bar to make a less detailed, tonal drawing, concentrating on shadows in preference to individual crease lines/marks.

Using clumsy wax crayon forced me to concentrate on the areas which I find important. It would be interesting to look at an area of the detail from sketch (such as that below) and develop it.

Looking at this close-up it is possible to appreciate the textural quality of the marks and the sinuous nature of the creases. Viewed like this, suggests to me that the sample could be used as flower, or as one of a series of petals. The fragility and translucency of the tissue seems appropriate. I can imagine multiple shaped pieces of tissue being used in this way in a textile project, in which I imagine lighting and shadow would be critical, with pieces of partially overlapping and creases and/or ribs inhibiting the passage of light.

SAMPLE 4: Glassine paper, circular ribs

I initially attempted to make this sample using the pink tissue paper. However, I found it very difficult to get the ribs to stay in place, especially those nearest the centre of the circle. I felt that maybe the tissue was becoming over creased and too soft, so I switched to a piece of glassine paper.

The glassine paper was large (approximately A1 size), crisp to the feel, with a smooth, waxy finish. After preparing the paper in the same way as I had with the pink tissue, I set about making the sample. I had very similar problems. I even tried changing my order of working, starting instead with the outermost ring and working inwards. It didn’t seem to make a difference. I did not feel that the centre two ribs were very well defined and I was initially very disappointed in the outcome. However, when I photographed my sample against a white background in natural light, the ribs showed up beautifully.

Once again it is a delicate, fragile, beautiful sample. I actually prefer the absence of colour, as I think it allows the viewer to focus on the shadows.

SAMPLE 5: Moulding around a sherry glass bottom

I used the round bottom of a sherry to form my crumpled pink tissue over it’s surface. I repeated this multiple times.

Although the shape didn’t hold that well, the glass base formed a rather interesting surface. I really like the fact that the impressions partially softened, feeling as if the are partially erupting, unevenly from under the paper. The surface is interesting and tactile, with an element of mystery about what might be underneath.

SAMPLE 6: Pink tissue, radial impressions from a brush handle

For my next sample, I wanted a change from the obvious, circular moulding shapes, so I used the handle of this dishwashing brush. 

I used just the handle, forming the tissue around it and pressing my finger gentle inside the hole to form a dimple. I arrange the handle impressions in a radial shape, with the hole at the centre.

This sample was a real disappointment, the shapes of the handle being barely discernible. 

SAMPLE 7: A repeat of sample 6 with glassine paper

I decided I would use glassine paper to see if I could get better impressions.

I think it is a slight improvement, although you probably wouldn’t be able to recognise the pattern. Again disappointing.

SAMPLE 8: Glassine paper, brush handle impressions is a line

I made one further sample with the brush handle, this time making a single row of impressions side by side one another, in a line.

Again, not great results – the impressions look more like simple ridges which I probably could have made more effectively with my fingers. 

SAMPLE 9: Pink tissue, espresso cup, shallow impressions

For my next sample I returned to the pink tissue, using the opening of  an expresso cup to form shallow craters. I also tried to form the tissue around the handle, although I don’t think this is evident in the photograph, reflecting poor definition in the sample. 

The craters were quite well defined. However,  I preferred sample 5, made with the glass base, which had a better shape definition, and a more recognisable surface pattern.


SAMPLE 10: Silver tissue, espresso cup, deep impressions

The same espresso cup was used to make a very similar sample to 9, and in doing so compare the effect of using a slightly different material. The silver tissue was softer than the pink tissue and also was only metallic and glossy on one side, being matt grey underneath. This time I pushed the tissue right down to the base of the cup and make deep impressions.

The first photo shows the “right side” of the tissue, the second, the underneath:


I love both these views. Looking at them together they form an interesting pair with their contrasting surface textures; one being shiny and reflecting light, the other being matt and absorbing it. The fact that the impressions are the same shapes but reversed, gives a sense of unity and cohesion to the pair. Definitely an idea to take forward to my own practice.

SAMPLE 11: Pink tissue, espresso cup, deep impressions

After the success of sample 10, I thought I would repeat it with pink tissue to see if I could replicate the dramatic results.

However, because of the dull tissue surface the results were not fantastic, so I didn’t bother photographing the sample underneath.

SAMPLE 12: Glassine paper, espresso cup, deep impressions

The same sample as 10 and 11 gain but using glassine paper.

Again disappointing results. It was also during making this sample that I accidentally broke a hole through the surface of the paper. It had been used much less than the pink tissue, which highlighted that glassine is a more fragile medium, and that extra care would be needed if choosing to use it in future.


SAMPLE 13: Brown paper, parallel ribs

I wanted to investigate the use of different material, so chose brown paper. The paper was of the type used for parcel-wrapping (i.e. crisp and shiny on one side), as opposed to the softer, more matt paper used for fruit and vegetable bags. As you can see from the photo below, the results were disappointing.  

The ribs formed well, but the paper in between didn’t retain the creases/crumple, and unlike tissue, it was not very elastic.


SAMPLE 14: Plastic bag, miniature wine bottle, deep impressions

I chose my plastic bag carefully, selecting a crisp thin one in preference to the soft 5p supermarket carriers. I didn’t have high expectations for this sample, but it has turned out to be one of my favourites. 

As I was photographing my sample, I noticed a huge difference between whether the lighting was artificial (multiple spotlights) or natural (in front of patio doors). 

The photographs below illustrate this. The first photo shows the “front” of the sculpture under spotlights, the second, the same view under in natural light.


Note that the creases and folds in the plastic are much more pronounced under spotlights, the negative space being more prominent under natural lighting. I like both effects – I guess the choice it would depend on the rest of the installation and which parts of the sculpture you wanted to emphasis.

Next, I turned the sample over and photographed it again under the spotlights. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the image. It took on a new life with the light shining through the plastic. 




Progressively more impressive results were obtained as I moved the viewing box nearer towards me and the position of the lighting relative to the sample changed. Below is the final image. It reminds me of creased butterfly wings unfolding and the insect emerged from the chrysalis, poised to take off in flight. There are lovely subtle variations in tone in the background, shadows and the creases and folds of the plastic.

The only downside of this sample, is that it is an extremely fragile structure. Even when I was moving it to different positions for photographing, it was tending to loose form. I can’t imagine posting it off for assessment! Perhaps the image could be used by printing it onto fabric or paper instead of using the sample directly in a textile piece?

I decided to made a sketch of this sample using gold and black gel ink pens. By this point, the sample had been moved several times and had changed shape (opened out) somewhat from the configuration I had photographed. 

Having drawn several of my samples already, I was very free with this sketch, and not overly worried about making a faithful or photorealistic representation. I resisted the temptation to add lots of detail and was pleased that I was able to make some interesting marks, and focus on the main areas of creasing and shadow. Gel pens are a particular favourite of mine for sketching.


A note on scale:

I considered making small and large scale samples for this exercise, but considered it was not particularly practical. For a large scale sample I would have needed an absolutely massive piece of paper/material to start with (which I did not have). A tiny sample would have been extremely difficult to form around objects.


Jackson, P. (2011) Folding techniques for designers: from sheet to form. London. Lawrence King.



Part 1, Stages 2&3, Project 1, Exercise 4 – Incremental and twisted pleats

13 September 2016

Project 1, Exercise 4 – Incremental and twisted pleats

Throughout this exercise, I referred to “Folding techniques for designers” (Jackson, 2011:78-79). A full citation is given in the reference list at the end of this blog entry. I also discovered the work of Anne Kyyro Quinn, who folds and sculptures with felt (including several examples using twisted pleats). I have discussed her work in detail in the research section of this assignment.


SAMPLE 1 – Incremental concertina pleat – symmetrical

I used an A4 piece of printer paper, 75gsm, to make a simple concertina pleat, symmetrical about the centre fold. I initially found it rather uninspiring (see below)

I then thought about presenting it in a different configuration, folding the long edges to touch each other and forming a tube with an interesting profile (see below):

Again, I could imagine several of these side by side to form an interesting surface, or the profile used as a shape to inform a pattern design.


SAMPLE 2: Incremental concertina pleat, asymmetrical

This sample is similar to sample 1, in that the pleats become progressively larger the further away they are from the central fold. However, these increments are not symmetrical, which gives the sample a rather irregular, ungainly feel.

Placing the long edges adjacent makes a tube with an asymmetrical profile (below).

I can’t really put my finger on what I like about this shape, other than that it’s irregularity must have something to do with it’s appeal. I find myself wanting to imagine a shape that I recognise in the profile (maybe a curled up animal?). It looks delicate, precarious, fragile, free-spirited, accidental, unexpected.


SAMPLE 3: Incremental knife pleats, A4 paper

Using the A4 printer paper, I worked incremental knife pleats. Each pleat fold was 0.5cm. The distance between folded increased by 0.5cm from right to left. 

Laid flat these small pleats do not seem very exciting (above), so I rolled the sheet to form a cylindrical tube (below). 

In this configuration it seems more dynamic, reminding me of fan blades, or perhaps turbine blades in a jet engine, getting progressively smaller. The circular shape definitely suggests rotation to me (and therefore movement).

SAMPLE 4: Incremental knife pleats, triangular paper

Again, A4 printer paper was used, but before pleating, a very pointed isosceles triangle was marked on the paper. After pleating the paper was unfolded and the triangle shape cut out before re-instating the folds.

I wanted to make a variation of the example suggested by Jackson (2011:79), so I used small knife pleats, with incrementally larger spacings between them. Whereas Jackson’s incremental concertina pleats formed a layering pattern when folded (resting vertically above each other in a stack), mine instead formed a flat(ish) sheet (see below)

This should have been expected, but was unexpected, because I hadn’t thought through the consequences of making the pleated so small. 

Next, I rested the sample on one of it’s long edges (see below):


The sample came to life! It looks like a reptile’s tail, whipping around in angry response to disturbance. Movement is suggested and the point implies tension (is there a sting on the end of that?)

SAMPLE 5: Incremental pleats on a large scale

I used the largest piece of paper I had to make this sample – a sheet of A1 180gsm cartridge paper. I pre-scored the paper using a scissor blade to get clean, crisp folds.

I photographed the sample from both sides under a spotlight (see below). 

My initial thoughts were that the sample was rather boring. I think the problem is that when folded, the sample isn’t really large scale enough to have a dramatic impact. Ideally, I would have liked to use a huge piece of paper the size of a room.

The sample did have stiffness and a structural feel about it, so I started manipulating it to see what interesting shapes I could produce. Using some masking tape to make a temporary joins, I formed the sample into the “Christmas tree” shape (see below):


However, the sample wasn’t rigid enough to stand upright on it’s own and flopped over. This was interesting because there was tension in it’s precariousness, and a suggestion of balance. It reminded me of childrens stacking blocks. I wondered if was was also slightly phallic.


SAMPLE 6: Twisted pleats

Using an A4 piece of printer paper, I made a series of pleats Ready to test them in different configurations/positions (see below)

Although the course notes suggested different methods of fixing the pleats, I found that simply folding over the ends was sufficient, having the added advantage of enabling the sample to be reconfigured without damage, so it to be viewed with the pleats in different configurations.

First, I secured all the top edges of the pleats in one direction and all the bottom edges in another. All pleats were twisted, and all in the same direction (see below)

There is a feeling of movement in waves and unity of travel due to the pleats all being twisted in the same direction. As a piece, it feels uniform and calming.

Next, I tried pairs of pleats folded away from each other at the top of the sample, towards each other at the bottom (see below). As before, all pleats were twisted. This configuration gives the illusion of the inter-pleat spaces being larger when the pleats are splayed apart and narrower when they are folded in towards each other. It feels like a series of interlocking shapes have been formed. Because the pleats are facing in different directions there a lack of unity, even a feeling of separation which makes this sample less calming.

Finally, I laid the pleats flat in a random manner, some being twisted one way, some the other, with no rule or pattern as to whether they were adjacent or not. I also allowed some pleats to be folded in the same way top and bottom, meaning they were untwisted (see below).

Funnily enough, this sample does not feel particularly different to the previous configuration, which has a definite pattern. 

SAMPLE 7: Twisted pleats, small scale

Looking for different materials to use, and wanting to make a small scale sample, I decided to try the pages of an old dictionary (thin, smooth paper). I tore out a page and divided it into four, then folded the paper over at the base to secure the end of the pleats in the same direction. I liked the effect of leaving the other end of the pleats unsecured, which enabled the piece to fan out (see below).
The resulting sample is enticingly delicate with crisp, precise folds. The shadows are pronounced. When I ran my nail over the ridges of the pleats they made a “clicking” sound as they flicked backward as forwards (rather like flicking through the pages of a stiff book).
Unlike the sample where I used gardening catalogue pages (project 1, exercise 3, sample 6), I felt that the text added to the appeal of this sample rather than making it appear muddled. This is possibly because the text is arranged in lines, so has an element of order. I wonder whether a very different effect would be generated by folding perpendicular rather than parallel to the text?
I wanted to examine the effect of manipulating this sample, so I stood it on end secured by Blu-tack (see below).
It looked like an miniature fan/peacock tail. The toothed shadows were interesting too. And looking from a different angle…
And from above…..
Next, I laid the sample on it’s side and curled it over in an arc shape…. 
It was amusing to see that the definition of “cami-knickers” was in a prominent position (by luck not design!) It shows how the inclusion of text could be manipulated to highlight certain phrases or meanings relating to the piece.
The image below works very well compositionally because it is off centre, and being a small object in a big space adds a sense of isolation to the sample as well as focusing attention on it. 
For some of my other small samples I have suggested the possibility of making lots of them and arranging them in a group. An alternative presentation to consider a sample an an individual item which perhaps makes more of a feature of it’s small size and is appropriate, if the sample is sufficiently interesting in its own right.
I decided to draw this sample, but I purposely omitted the text because I wanted to concentrate on the outlines and shadow (see below):
Because I’d used a 6B graphite pencil, I sprayed the sample with hairspray to ‘fix’ it. I hadn’t anticipated that this would result in a ‘softening’ of the lines ild made with the ‘sharpie’ pen, although I really like the result. I am pleased that this simple image represents the crisp sharp folds and soft diffuse shadows made by the sample.

Jackson, P. (2011) Folding techniques for designers: from sheet to form. London. Lawrence King.

Part 1, Stages 2&3, Project 1, Exercise 3 – Knife and box pleats

12 September 2016

Project 1, Exercise 3 – Knife and box pleats

Throughout this exercise, I referred to “Folding techniques for designers” (Jackson, 2011:64-79) and “The art of manipulating fabrics”(Wolff, 1996:89-97). Full citations are given in the reference list at the end of this blog entry. 

I was also interested to find several examples in current magazine which reflect the use of pleating and folding in contemporary interior design. An article entitled “Visa Hotels” in this months issue of Marie Claire Maison, featured the reception area of Hotel Le MEII Dulcamara a Milan (Marie Claire Maison, 2016:180). The wall was clad in material (possibly wood, because it was bown in colour), arranged so as to have the appearance of box-pleats. The panelling was fixed from floor to ceiling with a gentle curve which led the eye towards the reception desk. 

I was also interested to see an advertising feature in Elle Decoration which showed pleated lampshades by textile weaver Mayumi (Elle Decoration, 2016:201). Made from Japapanese paper and yarn, these are examples of the application of folding techniques to interior design. 

SAMPLE 1 – Simple knife pleat in ratio 2:1, rectangular paper

This was my first sample, made using a sheet of A4 sized 75gsm printer paper. After making basic linear folds to get division into eighths, I then had to measure and mark the position of the mountain and valley folds, before making them (in a ratio of 2:1).

I examined the sample in different configurations and under multiple spotlights to cast interesting shadows.

Laid on a board and viewed from the side (see above), it is possible to see the slanting “toothed” shape of the edge of the paper made by the wide mountain fold over a narrower valley fold. 

Next, I examined the effect of pulling the folds apart (see below). 

The diagram below (not to scale) illustrates the different shapes of the triangles which result from pushing the pleats close together verses pulling them wide apart, and the different position of each mountain fold apex relative to the valley fold.


Next, I viewed the sample from behind (see below). Because the leading edges of the mountain folds slant forwards, they cast no visible shadows, and each apex was poorly defined.

However, viewing the exact same sample from the front, strong shadows became visible and each apex appeared very well defined (see below)

Having viewed the sample from different angles and in different configurations, I decided to arrange it to make simple shapes/structures.

Firstly, I made a “fan” shape by anchoring the pleats closed across one edge with my hand whilst allowing the opposite edge to fall open (see below)

There are interesting variations of tone and shape in the shadows. I also like the irregularity of toothed/zig-zag shape along the open edge.

Next, I folded my sample in half along the length, perpendicular to the pleats (see below)

I then fixed two of the short edges together with a paperclip, and the other short edge was fixed to the board with Blu-tack.


I was amazed that such an interesting 3D structure could be made from my first sample, using the most basic of folds! I also photographed it from behind:

And from the side:

This was my favourite view. I can see a lovely angles and curves, and four tones of shadow.

And finally, I photographed it from an oblique angle between side/front from above:

I can imagine future exploration might involve joining several of these 3D shapes into a more complex form.

SAMPLE 2: Simple knife pleat, triangular paper 

Using the same A4 printer paper as for sample 1, I started by drawing a diagonal line in pencil from corner to corner of the paper (which would be my cutting line, once the folding was complete). I then proceeded to pleat the paper in exactly the same way as sample 1.

Once folding was complete, I opened up the paper and cut along the diagonal line to give me two right-angled triangles. I re-instated the folds. Below is a photo of one of the triangles. Stood on it’s end you can see that it has the tendency to curve around. 

The pleats fold the opposite way on the other triangle, so together they form a symmetrical pair (see below). I feel that there is a certain energy and tension created by the two small sharp points getting close together and nearly (but not quite) touching. This is an interesting result.

Instead of placing the triangles next to each other, I then looked at them opposing and overlapping (below)

On first sight this doesn’t seem a particularly interesting or stimulating arrangement, but viewed from above it becomes more engaging, with interesting negative space and varying amounts of pleat edge becoming visible, dependent on the viewing angle:

I thought this view would be interesting to draw. However, because I made the drawing at a later date, I had to rearrange the pieces of the sample, so the placement of the pieces was different (see below).

My line of sight was also in a different position to the camera lens on the photo. The perspective was very tricky. It didn’t help that I had to stand above the sample when drawing. It was also difficult not to get in the way of the light and obliterate the shadows, and because I kept moving my head the perspective kept changing.


SAMPLE 3: Rotational knife pleat, circular paper

Using the same A4 printer paper as for samples 1 and 2, I used a compass to draw a circle, making a cut along the radius.

I then folded the circle into eighths, before pleating each segment radially in the ratio 2:1.

This photo shows the resultant knife pleated circle viewed from above.

I then joined the two straight edges with masking tape to make a closed cone which is shown laid on it’s side in the photo above. 

Much more impressive is when the cone is placed pointing upwards and photographed from above (see photo below)

The pleats cause an interesting “saw-shape” around the circumference. Had time permitted, it would be interesting to make a larger cone with more smaller pleats.

SAMPLE 4: Simple knife pleats cut on a zig-zag

Using the same A4 printer paper as for samples 1-3, I marked diagonal strips on an A4 piece of paper before making knife pleats in an identical way to sample 1. When the folding was complete, I opened up the paper and cut the strips before reinstating the pleats and photographing the sample.

These results were really exciting – I found that by laying the strips parallel and slightly offsetting the folds I could make an interesting disrupted surface (see below)

Below is the same configuration viewed from the side. There are interesting negative spaces formed the gaps between the paper strips, the folds in the paper, and the shadows they produce. It reminded me of the quality of waves; the displacement giving a sense of movement and transience to the surface.

Secondly, I changed the arrangement of the pleats to form chevrons. The first photo is viewed from above, the second from the side.

I love both these surfaces. The chevron arrangement feels more dynamic, although the linear arrangement is more wave-like. The choice of which to use would require further investigation and a study of different materials and colours.


SAMPLE 5: Knife pleats cut on a zig-zag, large sample (abandoned)

After the success of sample 4, I thought I would increase the scale and use a A1 piece of paper. My intention was to use similar size strips and pleats and make a dramatic surface. Unfortunately, the thinnest paper I had in A1 size was 180gsm. It was more like card and difficult to fold accurately. Unlike the 75gsm printer paper, it did not form sharp crisp folds. 

I decided not to complete the sample.


SAMPLE 6: Knife-pleated circle using a gardening magazine

After the difficulties with sample 5, I decided to use some thin material again for my sixth sample and to investigate the effect of pattern. I took four pages of a rose catalogue and glued them together to make a large square paper sheet. Using a compass, I marked a circle. 

I then pleated the sheet in exactly the same way as for sample 1. After pleating, I unfolded the paper and cut out the circle shape before re-instating the folds. The photo below shows the result:

The effect of the pleats has been to condense the circle into an oval. Thinking about this, it is similar to the effect of painted speed signs on a road surface. The effect of perspective is to alter the perceived shape, so in order to appear as a circle when viewed by drivers, the speed sign is painted as an oval, and the number elongated.

Although the catalogue gave clean crisp folds, I felt that the patterning detracted from the beauty of the shadows, and that the pleating confused the images rather than enhancing them.

I tried adding a second row of knife pleats perpendicular to the first. This made matters worse, adding to the confusion and incoherence.

Maybe simpler patterning might produce interesting results? The rose catalogue did not.


SAMPLE 7: Knife pleat, small scale

I made a simple knife pleat as in sample 1, but using a tiny cigarette paper (medium thickness).


The thin, delicate paper made an unassuming and unremarkable sample. I thought about the properties of the paper, in particular it’s thin, semi-transparency. This gave me the idea of holding the sample up with the light behind it. The results were much more interesting (see below)

I like the fact that I was able to make this sample using a found object – an old packet of cigarette paper (my husband gave up smoking 2 years ago).

Thinking about how this sample could be used, I am imagining maybe stitching pieces together, of combining the incorporation of holes or tears in the paper to make it more interesting. 


SAMPLE 8: Basic box pleat in ratio 2:1

Using an A4 piece of 75gsm printer paper, I made a simple box pleat sample (see below).

As with the other samples which used this paper, it gave excellent definition of folds and shadow. I like this view because of the “tram-line” effect of perspective, making the “mountains” feel like iron bars. It has an almost industrial feel and a solidity and regularity which was not apparent with the knife pleat sample (sample 1).


SAMPLE 9: 3-box pleat cylinder

Using a strip of printer paper, pleated as for sample 8, I joined glued the edges to make a 3-box pleat cylinder (although “cylinder” implies roundness, and the tube was triangular in profile).

The photos below show the tube viewed from the side and above:

I am strongly attracted to the geometry of this sample. Even as a stand-alone piece there are appealing negative shapes. I can image even more interest by duplicating the sample and joining the shapes.


I made a drawing of the sample in Crayola crayon (above). It help me to appreciate the variety of different shapes, formed both by the object and it shadows. For simplicity of reading, I have depicted the paper object as a different colour to it’s shadows.


SAMPLE 10: 4-box pleat cylinder

This sample is an extension of sample 9, using an additional pleat to make a square cylinder (tube). By comparison with sample 9, the same views are shown below:

Again, it is a really appealing sample. Similarly, consideration could be given to making multiple samples and joining them together to make a surface.


In my freehand charcoal pencil drawing (above), I have reflected the irregular nature of this sample, which although supposedly symmetrical, is actually not.


SAMPLE 11:Rotational box pleat, circular paper

Using the same paper and preparation methods as sample 3, I folded a conical box pleated circle. The first photo is the sample laid flat and photographed from above.


Shown below is a side-on view:

Similarly to sample 3, I taped the straight edges together to make a cone. The photos below shows it viewed from above:

Whereas in the photo below, the cone laid on it’s side and viewed from inside, looking up into the point.

I like the shapes generated by this sample, although I think samples 9 and 10 are more appealing to me at this time.


SAMPLE 12: Box pleats, folded down

For this sample I used thick (250gsm), patterned, double-sided paper. Remembering a variation from my curtain-making days where box pleats were folded open to reveal a lining fabric, I tried to recreate the effect in this sample. Bearing in mind the difficulties with sample 5, I made sure the pleats were large (7cm across).

Having made the box pleats, they were folded down to reveal the backing colour/pattern (see below).

And on the reverse side:

My first reaction to this sample was one of disappointment. Firstly, that despite joining two pieces of paper, I had only sufficient material to make 2 box pleats. Also, I found the patterns distracting, and the very thick paper clumsy. However, looking again at the reverse side, I noticed that there was an interesting structure emerging – one which reminded me of the pillars of a concrete building, solid and uniform.

Viewed from the side (see below), the structure appears to rest on “feet” (a fact that I would probably not have been so obvious if I had made the sample with more than two pleats). I wondered whether it could be adapted to a design for a piece of furniture (table or chair?), imagining that it may be possible to make it out of plastic.


SAMPLE 13: Box pleats, small scale

I wanted to make a small box-pleat sample using cigarette paper (as sample 7), but decided that I would need a piece of paper bigger than a single sheet. I joined eight sheets together using the line of gum on each long edge. I then folded some simple box pleats, using the same method as sample 8, but closer pleat spacing (see below).

Initially I was disappointed with the results. The pleat folds were not very crisp, and because the paper is pre-folded in the packet, there were existing sharp creases in places where I did not want them. There was also a stiffening effect of double thickness paper and glue where the sheets were joined, which influenced the handle and crease behaviour, and made the sample less uniform.

The sample only really came to life when I held it up with light shining behind it (see below):


I love this effect; the way in which I am grasping the paper has resulted in a sinuous wave shape which adds to the interest of the pleats. With maybe 10’s or hundreds of samples, the correct lighting, and securing of samples in interesting shapes, this idea could be turned into a really interesting piece.



Elle Decoration (2016) Stylish interiors. [Adversiting feature] In: Elle Decoration. May-June 2016. p.201.

Marie Claire Maison (2016) Visa Hotels. In: Marie Claire Maison. No. 485. May-June 2016. p176-180

Jackson, P. (2011) Folding techniques for designers: from sheet to form. London. Lawrence King.

Wolff, C. (1996) The art of manipulating fabric. Iola, Wisconsin. Krause publications.