Discovering the magic of paper

My project for the last two months has been folding these lovely white flowers by hand

Published November 25, 2011 1:00AM (EST)

This article originally appeared on Imprint.

ImprintI haven't written in ages, my hands have been literally full, of paper. This last project was one of the most demanding maybe ever; huge, fun and full of learning. The main inspiration would have to be Tahiti Pehrson. I know him from high school and have watched him become one of the most impressive artists I have ever known.

His attention to detail is thrilling and I cannot even wrap my head around how he does these entire layers out of one gigantic piece of paper.

[caption id="attachment_229242" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Torment - by Tahiti Person"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_229243" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Delta Corvi -by Tahiti Pehrson"][/caption]

I have been making white paper flowers by hand for the last two months. It's been a completely new skill for me and I ended up surprising myself with how much I enjoyed it since the projects typically have been less delicate/feminine.

After a few days of experiments with different shapes cut by hand, I landed on the shapes that worked and drew them up in illustrator to cut with the Eastman. The Eastman is basically a robot with a razor at the end attached to a reverse air hockey table. The air holes suck the paper down and hold it while it is being cut. The illustrator files are exported as dxf files so that they act as CAD files and communicate with the "robot." This is a VERY boiled down explanation as I am a Mac user and am usually very distracted by the fact that my drawings are turning into real shapes and that something shiny is moving fast.

Each petal is rolled with chopsticks, paint brushes, mixing spoons, really anything we could find to match each petal size, and then hot glued to maintain it's shape.

The assembly line production then started, one petal type at a time, these were the base petals of the large poinsettias. After about 40 hot glue burns we started using clamps instead of fingers to hold the petals together as they dried, smart.

We hand cut tiny snowflakes with magnifying glasses for the tips of these shapes, they were too small to do any other way. I considered hiring people with tiny hands, but I am really not into child labor.

Of course I HAVE to get the vans in the shot, still a skater lover at heart.

[caption id="attachment_230647" align="aligncenter" width="440" caption="Antlre Inc. flower shapes for Sephora"][/caption]

We did over-sized gold gardenias for the windows, these were 2-3 feet in diameter.

[caption id="attachment_230648" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. gold flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230650" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

These flakes were drawn in illustrator and thankfully cut on the Eastman, we mixed them into the flowers as it IS for holiday.

These are a few of the larger clusters for the windows, we did them double sided so from inside the store they never really had a "back".

[caption id="attachment_230652" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230639" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="piles of gardenias made by Antlre Inc. for Sephora"][/caption]

In total there are about 5,000 flowers, the team and I finished them up tonight. We had giant custom boxes made (about the size of a twin bed) and sent them off to New York.

Team Antlre hopped on a plane for three overnighter installs in the Manhattan Sephora stores.

Any time there is scaffolding involved everything seems like a much bigger deal, more scary, way more fun.

[caption id="attachment_230248" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="up on the scaffold, wobble city"][/caption]

This is by far the best way to show off the scale... nerd it up with humans.

[caption id="attachment_230252" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. - wall of hand made paper flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230253" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. - wall of hand made paper flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230254" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. - columns covered in hand made paper flowers for Sephora"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230656" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="part of my awesome team - Shauna Mccanns, Alianna Kalaba, Leah Parks, Mia Admana and Sonia Tay - installing"][/caption]

We did CNC cut giant snowflakes for the balcony at 34th street out of sintra so they would be weatherproof and fireproof.

[caption id="attachment_230257" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="prepping the giant snowflakes to install on the balcony"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_230660" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Antlre Inc. snowflakes on balcony for Sephora"][/caption]

I usually try to get an inspiration book for each project, this time I was lucky enough to find these 2 gems:

One of the flowers even made it onto my halloween costume.

[caption id="attachment_230664" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="Hannah Sitzer and Tim Craig - barely scary, Halloween 2011"][/caption]

Last week, we did our last install from this project at the Powell Street store in San Francisco, if you have a chance to go see any of the New York or San Francisco stores in person, please do! Also, I have found myself now addicted to going in, they have DJs and drinks, they play great music and will do your makeup and nails and eyelashes all day and are so amazingly sweet that my pals and I found ourselves going back even when we weren't working just to hang out, whoa, seriously, I don't even like shopping, they are really doing it right.

Special thanks to all who helped make these beautiful flowers! Nick, other Nick, Kirin, Gretchen, Barbara, Mia, Aliianna, Leah, Liz, Piper, Wesley, Doug, Maria, Sarah, Michael, Kendall, Sonia, Rachel and Shauna, best team ever!

Love, Antlre

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.

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By Hannah Sitzer

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