Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Horsing Around in Little Tokyo

Last Friday, I made my monthly trip to Little Tokyo to pick up my NOA subscription.

Kinokuniya Bookstore in Los Angeles. The selection of Japanese origami books seems to have shrunk.

 I found John Montroll's recent book with 26 horse models and purchased it.

SKU: B13-128
Price: $19.95

26 wonderful horse-themed models from John Montroll and an international group of contributors. Models range from mythical (Pegasus, Unicorn, Centaur) to useful (Horse Bookmark and Pop-Up Horse Card) to various horse breeds (Quarter Horse, Clydesdale, Mustang, Lippizzan). There are easier models (Stick Horse, Simple Pony, Ponytail Pony) and more complex models, such and a painted horse that uses both sides of the paper to achieve the color effect, and a horse and rider from a single sheet. All models are folded from one square sheet of uncut paper, except for one horse folded from a dollar bill. Each diagram includes interesting facts on the model. Color photos and color diagrams with helpful text descriptions.
Classic Montroll horse will always remain my favorite:


 Next year will be the Year of the Horse, so it's a very timely book.

For those familiar with J-Town, ever take a notice at the lobby of what's across the street?

Corner of San Pedro and 1st St.

Notice anything inside the bank?

Located in the lobby of the Mitsui Manufacturers Bank, Natalie Krol's "Origami Horse", a 7'h x 9w' x 2'd brushed stainless steel sculpture wall sculpture that resembles a large origami horse.

This statue's been in there since, forever (copyright on the nameplate says "1984"- I got to UCLA in '87).

 My curiosity for all these years finally got the better of me and I ran a Google search to learn more about the artist and the art.

 The sculptress is Natalie Krol:

Natalie Krol creates sculptures that seek to capture a “moment.”  Krol has completed over twenty-five public art projects including a series of concrete figures in Los Angeles’s Westwood Park; a bronze at the Main Public Library of Glendale, California; and the stainless steel Friendship Knot at the Kaizuka City Hall, Japan.  Krol also has a keen interest in design and has produced children’s playgrounds, coining the term, “Play Sculpture.”  The artist lives and works in Wescott, Arizona.
Her website is here.

There isn't much information on the horse sculpture that I could find.  So I contacted Natalie Krol and asked her if I could publish the background story on her sculpture to this blog.  She was kind enough to take the time to provide the following:

When I was in Japan installing my statue of friendship in 1977 I was taking a train ride from Osaka to Kaizuka.  A young woman, holding an infant on her lap, sat across the way from me.  She used  a chewing gum wrapper  to make an graceful origami swan which she presented to me with a shy smile.  I still treasure my beautiful little swan.   When I was asked to create a sculpture for the Mitsui Manufacturers Building in Little Tokyo (LA) I decided to make my own version of the origami horse in stainless steel.  It is not from a folded paper idea but my translation of that idea.  I don't know if my version can be folded from actual paper.

First I created a small version in steel as a model, made templets in paper and then cut the templets from masonite pieces.  Finally I cut the actual shapes in stainless steel, welded them together and scroll textured the entire sculpture.  I called the sculpture "origami style horse" but the buyers of the sculpture wished to drop the word style using origami horse only.  

The process took me about two months from start to finish and I enjoyed the creative challenge immensely.  The commission to create a sculpture came before my concept of the origami style horse.  No one influenced my concept for the created work.  It was well received by the community and I am proud of the work.


Natalie Krol

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