Commissions

Welephant
Occasionally a client would like something of mine that is not on my website. Often I can modify one of my folding designs and send the client pictures for their approval. When I don’t have a design, and if the project fits my talents, I offer to create it. I like to know where the piece is to rest (e.g., what size wall or surface, and the colors around it, etc.). The following sequence of pictures describes this process for one commission; a bald eagle to be given to someone who worked in the security industry. I received some indication of what size piece to make, whether it was to be wall mounted or free standing, and the attitude of the eagle. Fortunately I had a basic design I could modify. Here are the steps I did to complete this project:


I sent the client several drawings like the one above for their approval. Once approved I did several folding designs before settling on the final crease pattern. The eagle had to folded from one bi-colored sheet of paper, and have a wingspan of at least 10-inches wide. To get the wing width I would need at least a 4-foot long piece of hand-made white paper which I ordered from a store in New York.

The white and brown paper were glued together to create one sheet in a process called “backcoating”. I used my living room window as a surface for the sheets to be pasted together and then allowed to dry. I had to cover the white sheet with two brown ones because I could not find a long enough brown sheet in the right color. I had to invent a way to hide the seam between the wet brown sheets.

Initial folding on the brown side of the paper took several hours after removing the sheet from the window and cutting it into a rectangle 47” long and 29.5” wide.

After the basic folding was done on the eagle, I make an armature to mount it consisting of a brass rod glued to a shaped sheet metal form. Before gluing it into a wing pleat, I painted the inner surfaces of the wing with acrylic medium to prevent the glue from discoloring the paper. The oak burl base for the piece is to the right.

Legs and talons were moistened, and then tied with threads to hold their shape when dried. The brass rod from the armature can be seen exiting the wing on the right after it was glued into place.

The oak burl base was painted with oil paints to look like a landscape, and fitted with felt feet to prevent scratching the surface it was to be placed on. A hole was drilled for the end of the brass rod.

Finished piece called “Above” required 21.5 hours to make spread over 4 days. I offer a money back guarantee on my art as long as it is returned to me in excellent condition. Flaws that become evident that are caused by me I will repair at no cost.

I sent this client a complete description of the process as well as the time needed to complete each step.

Description: “Above”. Bald Eagle originally designed 2008, made from a rectangle (29.5” x 47”) of Korean hanji backcoated with Thai unryu. Time to complete: 21.5 hours

Day/Time Activity Total Minutes
Saturday
3:00 – 5:30 pm enlarge design
90
5:30 – 6:10 apply methyl cellulose to paper and backcoat layers
40
9:24 – 10:01 cut paper
37
10:18 – 1:31 inital folding
191
1:57 – 4:03 fold toes
126
7:50 – 8:33 fold tail and wings
43
8:33 – 11:08 finish wings and clamp body
Sunday
8:39 – 9:38 shape wings and prepare wire
59
Monday
1:21 – 3:11pm make armature and grind burl
110
3:41 – 3:55 paint inside of wing with acrylic
14
3:55 – 4:15 paint burl
20
4:15 – 4:49 work on upper wing surface
34
6:06 – 7:35 glue eagle to armature, shape head, position feet
89
8:35 – 10:54 shaping
139
Tuesday
7:33 – 9:17 am leg shaping and final tweaking
104
9:52 – 10:31 cut rod, drill hole in base, position eagle
39
Total
1290

Also used: 12 gauge brass wire, sheet metal insert for wings, cotton, epoxy glue, methyl cellulose for backcoating, acrylic coating on the inside of the wing to prevent glue from discoloring it. The base is an oak burl painted with oil paint and fitted with felt feet.