In the Fold: Origami by Ruthanne Bessman

Exhibition runs Sunday, January 22 – Sunday, March 5, 2017

At the Lynn Mecklenburg Reading Room, Nancy Nicholas Hall

Reception: Sunday, January 29, 2017, 1 pm – 3 pm

origami frogs

How is it possible for a flat piece of paper to become a flock of soaring cranes, a chorus of musical frogs, or a ship in a bottle? Origami. The ancient art form of paper folding opens a world of new possibilities. Madison resident, Ruthanne Bessman delights in creating exquisite shapes from a variety of papers. Her works span the traditional and the contemporary. Through the selection of papers and folds she interprets the works of the masters, a tradition extending back to ancient China and Japan.

A classically trained harpist, Madison knows Bessman as the host of Classics on Request on Wisconsin Public Radio. She is also a certified origami instructor of the Nippon Origami Association and a former board member of OrigamiUSA, the national organization in the United States. She has created origami holiday trees at the Madison Civic Center, led a 1,000 cranes creative project with patients at the Wisconsin Children’s Hospital, and overseen the development of a permanent public art installation at Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts.

A stunning companion show to the Ruth Davis Design Gallery’s Crossing Mountains and Other Adventures: Story Quilts by Rumi O’Brien, In the Fold: Origami by Ruthanne Bessman is on concurrent display in the adjacent Lynn Mecklenburg Reading Room. In the Fold explores the intricacies of combining shapes and forms, and the delightful results they inspire. Many of Bessman’s creations have not been on display in more than ten years. This is a rare opportunity to revel in the humor, traditions, complexities, and fantasy of contemporary origami.


Center for Textiles and Design events are free and open to the public.

Lynn Mecklenburg Reading Room hours:
Monday – Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday: Noon to 4:00 pm

How to get to the Ruth Davis Design Gallery

PARKING: Click parking lots on map for real time availability


About Design Gallery

The Ruth Davis Design Gallery holds exhibitions that relate to the processes and results of design. Together we encourage research, education and outreach by bringing together the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, the Design Gallery and Ruth Ketterer Harris Library, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in Design Studies. We are located in the new Nancy Nicholas Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology.Completed in June 2012, the LEED-certified Nancy Nicholas Hall supports the School’s mission to improve the quality of human life, through its education, research, creative endeavors, outreach and engagement. This technology-rich environment facilitates webinars, video conferencing, and interactive learning. Its accessibility, café, roof terrace, and other comfortable community spaces welcome visitors and promote interactions among faculty, staff, students, and visitors. An enlarged, climate-controlled Design Gallery and Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection enhance the visibility of creative works from both students and professional artists.

Support Us

All Design Gallery events and exhibitions are free and open to the public, thanks in part to the generous support from the Anonymous Fund. Support our programming through a gift to the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

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