Avid readers may have been surprised to find that a 9 metre dragon has made the Jersey Library his new home as part of the Skipton Art Series 'Paper Talks' initiative.
The beast is the result of a collaboration between seven Jersey artists, 22 local schools, countless community groups and workshop participants and 2 international artists: Chinese professor Xiaoguang Qiao and Norwegian artist Karen Bit Vejle.
The community collaboration follows the exhibition‘Paper Dialogues - the Dragon and our Stories’ by Professor Qiao and Norwegian artist Karen Bit Vejle, which received over 5,000 visitors in the Town Hall last October.
Whilst in Jersey, Professor Qiao and Ms Bit Vejle ran masterclasses with seven local artists - Abi Overland, Anna Shipley, Ben Robertson, Joanna Brown, Karen Le Roy Harris, Lizi Hill and Maria Tarrant - to teach them the intricate art of paper cutting, also known as psaligraphy, and these artists guided the Jersey community in making enough scales to fit the 9 meter dragon.
Islanders from the age of three to 103 contributed in the making of the model which consists of over 1000 hand cut paper scales and Jersey Arts Trust say that displaying it in the library is a "great opportunity for people to see what they’ve contributed to."
The dragon landed on Monday and is set to 'hang' around until 30 June in the library as part of the Paper Talks series that aims to connect Islanders to the rich history of paper cutting.
Speaking about her hopes for the exhibition, Alice Bravery, Producer at the Jersey Arts Trust said: “I really hope that there is this legacy of paper cutting that is left. This is a skill that can be been passed on and developed we haven’t had as much of a history of paper cutting as other cultures but that’s the whole point, we have now entered into a dialogue of paper cutting that started with the town hall exhibition.”
At the launch on Monday, the library hosted numerous school visits from pupils who had contributed to the project and the library was also open to the public in the evening so all those in the community that had helped with the Paper Talks series could see the result of their efforts.
Anna Shipley is one of the seven local artists selected by the Jersey Arts Trust to help lead the community in the collaboration and she said it was "really satisfying" to see the final result.
Speaking about the process of collaboration, Ms Shipley said: "I don’t think perhaps when we went into it we fully appreciated the scale of it but it has unfolded really nicely over the months."
Picture: The nine metre dragon is suspended above the bookshelves in the Jersey Library.
She added: "Each area of the dragon has got somebody’s own twist on what paper cutting s and they’ve really sat there and worked on it for three hours perhaps and you can see each little story as part of the scales."
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