ST. MARYS — A St. Marys high school student is displaying his creations as part of his first exhibit in a local art gallery.
Mitchell Vires, who will be a senior at St. Marys Memorial High School this fall, is showcasing his origami creations as part of “Aggregate: Chinese Modular Origami,” an exhibit that opened on June 7 at Arts Place’s Collective Center on Spring Street.
Modular origami is a paper-folding technique that uses two or more sheets of paper to create a larger and more complex structure than would be possible using single-piece origami techniques. Each sheet of paper is folded into a module, or unit, and then modules are assembled into an integrated flat shape or a three-dimensional structure. This is done by inserting flaps into pockets that have been created by the folding process.
These insertions create tension or friction that holds the model together.
“I like the designs he does and the colors,” Mary Hone, of The Collective Center, said of Vires’ work. “His creativity is amazing.”
Vires lives in Wapakoneta, and he is planning to attend Bowling Green State University and major in biology.
“There’s a lot of energy that goes into this and a lot of skill,” Hone said of Vires’ pieces, which included various animals to a bride and groom.
Vires described his entrance into origami and what led him to try modular origami in his artist’s statement.
“When I was 6, my brother received an origami book, and I was instantly hooked once he let me borrow it,” he wrote. “Shortly after, I surpassed his ability to fold paper, for I had more patience.”
For the next few years, Vires continued to work with conventional origami.
“It was not until the seventh grade that I discovered Chinese modular origami,” Vires wrote.
“My first goal was to try to find a book on the subject, but at that time none existed. So, for the next several months I searched for someone who knew how to do this origami style, but sadly there were very few people who knew it was done.”
Then, Vires found a video on the subject.
“About halfway through my seventh-grade year, I finally found what I was searching for, a short video on how to fold the pieces and assemble a small bird,” he wrote.
“Ever since I learned how to make the modules, I have been teaching myself how to work with the paper. Recently, the origami style has exploded with many new ideas and forms to work with. Today, there are only three books on how to fold in this style of origami.”
Vires’ work was first displayed at The Collective Center in the Regional Student Art Exhibition “Small Town Voices” held this March. From there, Vires was selected for an exhibit of his own.
“He hand folded all of these,” Hone said. “He uses copier paper and folds it down to the size he needs and tears off what he doesn’t, and he continues to just fold them without even looking.”
“Aggregate: Chinese Modular Origami” will run through July 15 at The Collective Center.
Following Vires’ exhibit, Cathy Jeffers, a quilt artist, will be showcasing her work at the center.
Her exhibit will run from July 19 to Aug. 23.
The Collective Center, which is located at 142 E. Spring St., is open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment by calling 419-394-0707. Admission to the gallery is free, and it is open to the public.