The purpose of this exercise is to explore the use of accordion pleats as a means of building texture, working first with paper, continuing to try folding other materials.

i) Simple pleats

This exercise was focussed around the effects achievable by folding papers. I began with simple, regular folds accordion pleats worked in A4 printed paper, re-purposed from printer paper -documents printed in error, over-printed, paper jams etc. I like the idea of re-purposing and re-using discarded materials to make something beautiful.

Thoughts and conclusions

The A4 paper gave good structure, holding the folds well with crisp, clear edges. It was interesting to photograph them from different angles to see how they catch the light, creating highlights and shadows that could be explored further in stitch or other media.

The printed pages produced interesting effects as the text lost its own identity and became more pattern than text.

ii) Combining pleats

I continued exploring the paper pieces, combining them to create new shapes and textures. Stacking, interlocking and layering different width folds, making tubular and vertical shapes. I also worked with twisting and fan-pleating.

Thoughts and conclusions

Photographing the pieces from varying angles again yielded interesting new shapes and patterns which I could see adapting readily into prints – perhaps linocuts or screenprints.

iii) Working with other materials – tissue

Next I tried tissue paper to see how the softer paper would hold the folds.

Thoughts and conclusions

As anticipated the tissue didn’t hold the folds as well as the copier paper and was prone to tearing. It also creased, making it look untidy if over-worked. However, when folded into fan shapes the softness was advantageous as it held the shapes more readily without being as bulky.

iv) Working with other materials – acetate

This one proved to be more of a challenge! The acetate wouldn’t hold any folding, so Iironed it to melt the folds into place.

Thoughts and conclusions

Not the best result! The acetate did eventually hold some shape so I may try this with a thinner acetate, perhaps incorporating stitching to hold the shapes in place.

v) Working with other materials – wired metallic ribbon

I found some florist’s ribbon in a cupboard. It has a metallic mesh with a fine wire along the top and lower edge.

Thoughts and conclusions

The wire was fine enough to hold the folds and there’s definitely scope to exploit this medium further. It would be interesting to add stitch or twist, fold and shape.

Future ideas

There are many ways that this experiment could be taken further. The use of the iron with the acetate would obviously lend itself to ironed pleats in fabric. Already “pleated” materials such as corrugated card would be interesting. Foils and different weights of card and many more.