This weekend, steel “folded” artworks will fill the Missouri Botanical Garden, as the “monumental outdoor sculpture exhibition” known as OrigamiintheGarden opens.
“There are 18 installations made up of these large-scale sculptures of origami pieces that are cast in stainless steel based on what you would normally expect from origami—folded patterns,” says Chelsea Bowerman, senior events coordinator for the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The artists are husband-and-wife team Jennifer and Kevin Box. OrigamiintheGarden first opened at the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens in 2014 and has been traveling across the United States ever since. The sculptures were created specifically for display in garden settings—their natural elements and themes are in communication with the surrounding plants. The artists create the works initially in paper and then cast them using a lost-wax technique.
“One of the highlights of the exhibit is one called ‘Master Peace,’” says Bowerman. “It’s a 25-foot sculptures of 500 cranes, installed in water that reflects the 500 cranes back.”
To hear Kevin Box narrate the story of a thousand cranes—as well as the stories behind all of the other sculptures—you can dial up the Guide by Cell tour at each origami piece.
Beyond the cranes, visitors will see folded birds flying, a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, paper airplanes (the first example of origami that many people encounter as kids), and origami boats floating in the lake in the Japanese Garden. Visitors are greeted by a large piece out front that resembles a to-go box but is also a crane.
If you can’t get enough of the works, a gift shop inside the temporary visitor’s center features T-shirts and mugs, maquettes of the works, and even a few sculptures scaled for home gardens.
After being postponed from opening a year ago, OrigamiintheGarden continues through October 10. The exhibition is free with regular admission. On Thursday and Friday evenings from June through August, you can also visit Origami After Hours to see the works lit up and accompanied by live music.