In November 2005, I had an idea to make an art work from a series of model houses made from folded and glued paper. The idea was to design the houses on my PC, print them off, cut them out and stick them together. They would have colour printed inside, on the wall & ceiling which are usually out of sight. Light would filter through the paper and project the colour into the houses’ interiors. Originally, I planned to make nine or ten houses. Things got out of control and I ended up making over 160.
I used the houses for several different works and made several compositions of houses to be photographed. The largest finished work was "The Wisdom of Bertrand Russell" which used 153 houses and six narrow MDF shelves. At the end of my final year at college, I had some name & e-mail address labels printed, stuck these to the base of the houses and gave them away to visitors to the degree show. They seemed to me to be a lot nicer than giving people business cards from the local print shop. The whole lot went very quickly and I believe people were pleased to be taking home part of an art work.
The Wisdom of Bertrand Russell. 153 paper houses on MDF shelves. This work includes several non standard houses like the "sinking" set on the left hand end of the middle shelf.
A group of paper houses on paper plinths.
I am told the houses travelled as far as London which is about 250 miles from Wrexham. They will also have travelled to the North of England and several parts of Wales. But it would be great to have some house travel a lot further than that -- somewhere overseas, perhaps even the other side of the world. Rather than try and deliver a fragile paper house all that way, I have decided to deliver them electronically and get my audience to bring them into the physical world.
Anyone who wants to, and who has basic model making skills, can make themselves one or more paper houses in their choice of six colours.
The instructions are quite detailed as I hope people who don’t usually make things will have a go. If you make stuff regularly, you can probably see how to do it just looking at the printed house. Go ahead and ignore the rest of this if you think you can manage without my help.
If you are of school age, please ask a responsible adult before working with a sharp knife. And no, I don’t count as a responsible adult.
If you make a house, please e-mail me to let me know where you are. If you have the time and a digital camera, please send a photo. I will add a selection of photos to my paper house web site.
Because (I think) of the way our eyes adjust to colour, if you make one house, the colour projected on the inside may not be that obvious. If you make a second house in a different colour and put them side-by-side, the colour becomes obvious.
While making 160+ houses, the design evolved so the houses became easier & quicker to make. I designed them two different ways: in three dimensions using SketchUp and in two dimensions using Xara. I only really needed SketchUp to design the difficult ones like the sinking series, the standard ones are easy enough in 2D.