Between Folds: Origami Classical And Modern

Cleverly transforming a flat square of paper into three-dimensional sculpture through folding and without the use of scissors or glue is a beloved pastime in Japan among both children and adults, dating from the Edo period (1603–1867). Called origami, paper folding produces creations as wide-ranging as a person’s imagination: animals, from horses to rabbits; sea creatures, from whales to seahorses; insects, from crickets to butterflies; trees and flower blossoms; figures of geisha and samurai; and even action figures, such as cranes with movable wings.

“Between Folds: Origami Classical and Modern” features ingenious folded paper forms by origami artist M. Craig. Raised in Japan and America, “M, as she calls herself, holds a degree in Fine Arts and is co-founder of the Tucson Origami Club and has taught Japanese paper-folding techniques throughout the Tucson region since 1996. She has also exhibited at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Our exhibition runs October 1 through December 31, and entrance is free with regular Gardens admission. Also of interest: a parallel exhibition of larger-than-life metal origami sculptures – “Origami in the Garden” – opens October 9 at the nearby Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Mingei: Old Japan on Hand

The human touch in folk crafts in Japan was largely brushed aside by the country’s rapid modernization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In response, there has arisen a folk art preservation movement called mingei.  It focuses on the beauty in objects created by average people that are practical and used in daily life.

Our new museum gallery and its permanent exposition, “Mingei: Old Japan on Hand,” shows the movement to be a distinctly Japanese appreciation of the traditional. Mingei challenges narrow definitions of art by focusing on utilitarian items made by their everyday users, rather than on refined works from professional artists. Our collection includes objects spanning more than 150 years. It celebrates nameless creators who used materials as common as themselves – stone, ceramics, textiles, paper, bamboo, lacquer, and wood – to make functional things that are humble, but nonetheless of value, because they preserve the sense of the personal in an era of mass production.