BETWEEN THE FOLDS Screens in Grand Rapids With Paper Folders

Posted on November 4, 2009

Producing Partners are local community organizations that co-present Community Cinema screenings across the country. Last night, Producing Partner WGVU Television & Radio in Grand Rapids, MI, screened the Independent Lens film BETWEEN THE FOLDS. The film looks at fine artists and theoretical scientists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at hard-earned graduate degrees to forge unconventional lives as modern-day paper-folders. Emily Maurin of WGVU gives her take on the event below:

What a great night! We were extremely lucky to have two amazing paper folders with us––Richard Alexander, one of the film's participants, and Rodger Despres, a local paper folder who has constructed a 45-foot long paper model train. They each offered a different perspective on paper folding. Richard spoke about his artwork through Origamido, as well as his experiences making his own paper, which is beautiful on its own! Rodger discussed how he has used paper to engineer working train cars and tracks. He was very excited since Richard was the first paper folder he had met! They talked about how paper folding is almost a secret society that is just now emerging as a mainstream art. Richard impressed the audience with his butterfly ball, constructed of 12 pieces of folded paper. When he tossed the ball in the air and struck it, the ball became 12 fluttering butterflies. He then taught me how to put it back together using “storygami,” a way to work through the steps, but I haven’t had the guts to smash it up yet.

Following a short discussion about the types of origami, and how they relate to other fields like math and science, we moved into the lobby. Rodger had several of his train cars on display and Richard had brought along a folded alligator, which started out as a 6' x 6' piece of paper. Rodger had quite a crowd to look at his train, and he explained the work that had gone into it--approximately 1,500 hours! Richard brought patterns that guided people through, ending up with little black and white dogs. There were some great comments from people about the evening and the film, that included "jaw droppingly beautiful," "blown away - absolutely fascinating" Though, possibly my favorite was from a 4-year-old who came to the event with her dad, "They made birdies and duckies." Indeed they did! 

-Emily Maurin WGVU Marketing Coordinator and Community Cinema Producing Partner


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