Each of my Earth Spirit Vessels is made from hundreds of pieces of hand-folded paper. Within 25 of the papers of each vessel are hand-calligraphed quotes, inspirations and prayers relating to the Mother Earth and Nature. Once folded and made a part of the vessel, these messages are not meant to be seen or read, but to be embodied into the spirit of the vessel itself.
I include, with each vessel, a photo of the hand-calligraphed messages that are in that particular vessel.
The paper I used for these three vessels is Hahnemühle Ingres. It is a mouldmade, high alpha sheet that is acid free and highly lightfast. That may seem highly technical, but what it all means is that it’s a beautiful archival paper that is not supposed to fade over time when exposed to light. It took me a while to find a paper that had all the qualities I wanted. It has a wonderful tooth and texture. I buy it in full sheets, 18 and 3/4″ by 24 and 3/4″ and cut it into the 2″ by 4″ pieces of paper that I fold 9 times to make the units that become my Earth Spirit Vessels.
This type of folding is often referred to as Golden Venture origami or Chinese modular origami. It was made popular in 1993 when a group of illegal Chinese refugees arrived on the ship “Golden Venture.” They were held in an American prison while waiting for their immigration trials. While in prison they began making traditional Chinese folded models using materials such as magazine covers. These models were sold at charity fund raisers. The resulting media coverage of the refugees helped to popularize this type of folding worldwide.
Most of the Golden Venture origami I saw was of traditional forms like dragons, swans and boats. I have always loved baskets, boxes and other containers. I decided I wanted to see if I could use this form of folding to make vessels. At the same time, I started learning to play the Native American Flute. As I combined the meditative processes of playing the flute and folding the paper, I decided I wanted to incorporate the feeling of both together into vessels. This is how my Earth Spirit Vessels came into being.
I have a few Earth Spirit Vessels on display at the Hilltop Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. I am happy to say that I took them three vessels on Sunday and they sold two of them within just a few hours. I posted the photos of the sold vessels on Facebook and received commissions for two more. It makes me very happy to find other people loving these vessels as I do. It takes me a week or more to make each vessel (I can only do so much folding a day), so guess what I will be doing for the next several weeks.