Saturday Studio: Folding Frenzy

Naomi Vanderleest, Education Assistant

Currently on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a retrospective of William Dutterer’s works: William S. Dutterer, Below The Surface: A Deep “See”. His pieces are organized chronologically; as I move around the room, I couldn’t help but stop and look longer at this particular work. What does this look like to you?

William S. Dutterer, American, 1943-2007. Studies. Charcoal on paper, 1971. Gift of the William S. Dutterer Trust, 2021.93. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

They look like folded fabrics to me! Did you notice the tabbed paper at the top? That tells me this work came from a sketchbook. I enjoy all of the sketches in this exhibition because they help me understand the process of the artist. Beside this work is another “folded” artwork. What is different about this work?

William S. Dutterer, American, 1943-2007. Lava. Acrylic and aluminum paint on paper, 1973. Gift of the William S. Dutterer Trust, 2021.93.

The first thing I notice are the colors: red and silver. The colors lead my eyes around the shape. Looking closely, you can see the work is actually folded! I wonder what made Dutterer decide to make that shape. To investigate Dutterer’s process further, I decided to create my own folded artwork. Below are the supplies I used:

  • Construction paper
  • Acrylic paint (metallic paint is recommended)
  • Scissors

First, paint one side of the construction paper a different color. I decided to do silver metallic paint because it was one of Dutterer’s favorite colors! While the paint dries, create a sketch. Think about what kind of folds you want to create. I was inspired by a fan, creating folds back and forth, and I was curious how that would look with the silver.

What side will be facing out? Choose between the painted or the paper side. I chose the painted side because I wanted to focus on the color.

Next, start cutting and folding. I made a cut on the bottom and then made folds back and forth from one flap. 

I like how the black peeks through the paper and the angular shape it created; in fact, the black was moved to the front of the artwork! I decided to repeat this fold on some corners to create more black shapes in my work. Once you think the folding and cutting is complete, decide how you want your work displayed. Turn the paper until it looks right to you. This is my creation. What does it remind you of?  

To me, the folds look like parts of a paper airplane. I like how everything follows a similar diagonal line, leading my eyes from the bottom to the top of the work. The silver creates shadows and dark lines; I can see now why Dutterer enjoyed the silver paint!

Share your folded artwork with a friend and talk about what you see! It might inspire them to create their own folded work.

Want to see Dutterer’s work in person? Bring your family and friends on a Second Saturdy Family Tour at FWMoA, every second Saturday of the month, at 10:30am. RSVP for June on our website.

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