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Thousand origami butterfly sculpture for Tyneside care home

BySam Schofield

Sep 24, 2021

A GIANT yin and yang symbol made from a thousand origami butterflies has been gifted to a Tyneside care home.

Newcastle artist Simon Turner, working with pupils from St George’s RC Primary School, in Lemington, created the artwork for nearby Waverley Lodge Care Home.

The colourful creation has been prominently displayed in the lobby of the care home, on Bewick Crescent, for the enjoyment of the home’s elderly residents, staff, and visitors.

Resident Donald Griffin, 91, said: “That’s champion that is. I like the colours. It must have taken a lot of patience to fold all the butterflies.”

Carer Rosie Willis said: “It’s so clever. I love the symbol that’s made by the butterflies. We showed all the residents and they thought it is really lovely.”

Simon, a former tree surgeon turned full-time artist, has been working on an Arts Council England funded project with the help of 18 Tyneside schools – producing 22 origami artworks.

He said: “Each sculpture is made up of around a thousand origami butterflies, inspired by the tradition of folding a thousand origami cranes to be granted a wish.

“As well as helping to fold the butterflies, I also asked the pupils to help me design the sculptures. One pupil, from St George’s Primary School, whose pupils made the butterflies for the sculpture at Waverley Lodge, had the idea of a yin yang design.

“So I created an abstract piece based on the yin yang design. The inside of the sculpture is an origami water bomb model folded out of wire mesh, then the thousand butterflies are attached using treasury tags.

“One of the ideas around this project is about mindfulness and I hope to inspire people to have a go at origami themselves.

“The sculptures are created from one simple origami design, which could be easily folded by most people. When folding the same model over and over, it becomes a very peaceful, meditative process.

“I’m also creating a short film about the project, which will be finished around mid-October, and I will be sharing it with the care homes.”

Jane Mack, regional manager for the Hill Care Group, which operates Waverley Lodge Care Home, said: “We can’t thank Simon and the youngsters from St George’s school enough for thinking of us for their amazing project.

“The colourful artwork has taken pride of place in the foyer at Waverley Lodge, so it’s the first thing residents, staff and visitors see as they come in and out of the home.

“We are always looking for ways to engage with the local community and projects like this are a brilliant example of an intergenerational action that has brought so much joy to all those involved.”