Red Gibbons-Lejeune works in a variety of media, drawing on ancient craft techniques as a point of departure for her more modern pieces.
Throughout her artistic career Red has been a devotee and teacher of Origami, a Japanese art form dating back to the 6th century. Using a playful medley of saved, handmade, restored and robbed papers – from traditional Japanese washi to sweet wrappers – her Origami artwork evokes the democratic and timeless nature of this traditional art form.
The multicoloured collection of butterflies plays on the collective noun for butterflies – Kaleidoscope. They are arranged to give a sense of flight and bright, speckled movement, like the kaleidoscopes we used to play with as children.
The bright colours, composition and selection of papers also evoke the butterfly as symbol of new life (art lovers might recognise clippings from the V&A’s spring newsletter, announcing upcoming displays and events for the new season).
Kaleidoscope also portrays the democratic nature of Origami. Luxurious Japanese ‘washi’ (a traditional handmade decorative paper) sits alongside wrapping paper and magazine clippings. Similarly, the status of the V&A members’ newsletter is challenged as it is torn into squares, before then being elevated to a thing of beauty.
‘the starting point is simple: a piece of square paper. Any paper. From there, through a calculated sequence of folds, careful manipulation, and an opening of the imagination, a thing of beauty is born.’
In 2011 Red completed a Masters degree in Medieval Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art, graduating with a distinction. Inspired by the traditional techniques and patient hands of medieval craftsmen, she subsequently attained a Diploma from the Prince’s School of Traditional Art.