Arts & Crafts Magazine

Francene Levinson - Contemporary Paper Sculptures

By Ann Martin
Several years ago I featured a paper craft called Chinese 3-D modular origami or Japanese block folding origami. Folded pieces of paper can be stacked and arranged in countless ways to create objects. Plants and animals are popular subjects, birds in particular, because their graceful necks and wings can be nicely portrayed by the curved arcs that occur when the folded triangles are slipped one on top of another.

3-D modular origami sculpture


Francene Levinson used the very same technique to create these artistic modular sculptures. Her interpretive works are inspired by Florida's environment and offer a contemporary twist on the paper craft. Interested in art since early childhood, Francene taught the subject in New York and Florida.

3-D modular origami sculpture

Ocean Garden

I read that you learned about this form of sculpture from one of your students, which leads me to wonder what type of art was your focus previously? Have you always sculpted?
It is true that I first learned of this ancient Chinese modular paper folding technique, called Zhe Zhi, from one of my middle school art students who had emigrated from China. I later researched the technique and discovered the Golden Venture Art created by captured Chinese immigrants in 1993. The foundation for my new approach to using this modular paper medium grew out of my stone sculpting background. I received my training at Montoya Studio in West Palm Beach, Florida. Prior to that study, my art education included sculpting in clay, plaster, and wax with Albert Terris, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York. In addition, I studied with Ad Reinhardt, and Philip Pearlstein for my BA and MA in art and art education.

3-D modular origami sculpture


What kind of paper do you find works best for your sculptures?
I rely on 8.5 x 11 archival inkjet paper purchased from Paperworks. The best weight is 24 lb. because it is easily folded, yet not too soft. This paper retains Ph neutral glue very well which allows me to explore new architectural heights. It is available in an exceptional palette of colors.

3D modular origami sculpture


Are you currently exhibiting your work?
My sculptures are represented by Paseo Originals Art Gallery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where seven of my bird-life sculptures are on display. My sculpture Cameron is currently on display at Art Design Consultants, Cincinnati, Ohio. Caracol and Sleeping Sea Nymph are in the Rosen Gallery and Museum, Boca Raton, Florida until October.

3-D modular origami sculpture


See more examples at and visit Francene's interesting Facebook page, where she shares images of many sculptors' art.

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