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Elements Festival Attracts International Origami M

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Origami Master Jonathan Baxter for Porirua Elements Festival

6 February 2006
Te Rauparaha Park

Jan. 12, 06

Elements Festival Attracts International Origami Master

It is probably one of New Zealand’s most unusual professions, but Origami Master Jonathan Baxter is amongst the best in his craft in the world, in demand both internationally and throughout this country.

And he’s coming to Porirua’s Festival of the Elements on Waitangi Day next month, giving people throughout greater Wellington a chance to see the craft at its best.

Japanese in origin, origami is now widely practiced throughout the world. It presents the artist with the challenge of extracting the desired shape from the paper by only folding the paper. There isn’t any cutting, gluing, stapling, taping or any other connecting method used in the work, which can have more than 200 folds to create the finished shape.

Jonathan studied his craft with Japanese origami masters, and in 1999 was one of five people from around the world invited by Japan’s greatest living origami master Akira Yoshizawa to exhibit with him in a Tokyo gallery.

Today Jonathan Baxter is an accomplished and internationally known origami Master himself. He has exhibited in Europe, the USA and Asia, selling his work at fine art shows and galleries, with commercial assignments including origami sculptures for print and television, large-scale art pieces for corporations, and special event promotions.

In 2001 Jonathan was awarded the prestigious “Michael Shall award” by the US National Origami organization for his work in promoting the art form.

Jonathan has lived in the USA, England and Australia, and brought back his expertise in origami to New Zealand when he returned to his homeland to resettle.

He takes the fine art of origami to the public through exhibits, demonstrations, workshops, and installations using contemporary designs in paper folding.

Jonathan also continues to travel overseas with his craft, going to Japan in 2004 as a guest of the Japan Origami Academic Society, and last year participating in the Folding Australia-International Convention and the World Exhibition of Origami Masters in Salzburg, Austria. His work at the world exhibition was included in the fine arts publication ‘Masters of Origami’.

“I like to think that origami is becoming more widely recognized in New Zealand, with an ever increasing number of people trying their hand at it,” says Baxter.

“One indication of this is there seems to be more books on the subject available in mainstream bookstores.”

In March, the Capital E National Children's Theatre will premiere a new play called 'The Paper Shaper', featuring a large number of origami props built by Baxter.

The play will do a national tour, and Baxter says it offers another great opportunity to get the art form of origami out there in front of people.

In July 'Incredible Science Day' at Auckland University will feature the world premiere of a live presentation called 'The Great Origami Math & Science Show'.

Sponsored by the Royal Society it too will do a national tour and offer middle & high schools creative ways of grasping math concepts using origami.

“Then there are festivals like the Elements in Porirua where the general public can have the opportunity to see first hand what is possible in the paper folding medium, and hopefully be inspired to try it themselves,” says Baxter.

“I like to think that through the culmination of all these efforts, origami is becoming more widely accepted and practiced in New Zealand.”

At the Festival of the Elements Baxter will demonstrate a variety of origami pieces throughout the day in the Pataka Museum and Art Gallery.

“I will have on display a greater array of intricate and complex models that can’t be done in the demonstration due to time constraints and complexity.”

The Festival of the Elements will be held at Porirua on Waitangi Day (Monday, 6 February) from 10am through to a Festival Fireworks spectacular at 9.45pm. Wet weather arrangements are in place, enabling the Festival to go ahead rain, hail or shine. More information on the Festival is available on

Jonathan Baxter can be seen demonstrating his craft at the Festival in the Pataka Museum of Arts & Culture from 11.30 through till late afternoon


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